Woman fighter pi­lot in­spired whole na­tion

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHAO LEI in Bei­jing zhaolei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

For Chi­nese air force pi­lots, fly­ing the na­tion’s most ad­vanced stealth fighter jet, the J-20, is a dream. This was the case with Cap­tain Yu Xu, one of China’s first fe­male fighter jet pi­lots.

Yu, a mem­ber of the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army Au­gust 1st Air Demon­stra­tion Team, told re­porters ear­lier this month at the 11th Zhuhai Air Show in Guang­dong prov­ince that she had won­dered what it would be like.

How­ever, this will never hap­pen. The pi­lot, 30, died in an ac­ci­dent on Satur­day dur­ing flight train­ing in He­bei prov­ince.

By late Sun­day, nearly 60 mil­lion Sina Weibo users had read the news and many paid their re­spects.

In WeChat Mo­ments, a mo­bile phone-based, Twit­ter-like ser­vice, many re­called how she in­spired them to chase their dreams.

Se­nior Colonel Shen Jinke, spokesman for the PLA Air Force, said all air force mem­bers deeply mourned Yu’s death, while the air force will con­tinue to faith­fully ful­fill its mis­sion.

The air force did not dis­close de­tails of the tragedy, but wit­nesses and mil­i­tary sources said Yu and a male pi­lot were con­duct­ing aerobatic train­ing be­fore they had to eject from their J-10 fighter jet for an un­known rea­son. The male pi­lot parachuted to

All air force mem­bers deeply mourned Yu’s death, while the air force will con­tinue to faith­fully ful­fill its mis­sion. Se­nior Colonel Shen Jinke, spokesman for the PLA Air Force

safety, but Yu hit the wing of another J-10 and died.

Born in 1986, Yu was from Chongzhou in Sichuan prov­ince. She joined the mil­i­tary in 2005 as a stu­dent at the PLA Air Force Avi­a­tion Univer­sity. She grad­u­ated in 2009, be­com­ing one of the first 16 Chi­nese women pi­lots ca­pa­ble of fly­ing fighter jets. Be­fore the 16 air­women, all of the air force’s fe­male fliers were trans­port air­craft pi­lots.

Cap­tain Yu Xu, one of China’s first

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