J-20 in lime­light, but pi­lots de­serve credit

China Daily (USA) - - TOP NEWS - Zhao Lei RE­PORTER’S LOG Con­tact the writer at zhaolei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

About two weeks ago, I was in Zhuhai, Guang­dong prov­ince, cov­er­ing the 11th China In­ter­na­tional Avi­a­tion and Aero­space Ex­hi­bi­tion, com­monly known as the Zhuhai Air Show.

On Nov 1, the first day of the ex­hi­bi­tion, the star was the J-20 fifth-gen­er­a­tion stealth com­bat air­craft, and two J-20s per­formed a short rou­tine above thou­sands of spec­ta­tors to make their public de­but.

I’m con­vinced that ev­ery mil­i­tary fan, in­clud­ing my­self, was so ea­ger to see what the J-20 would be like that we hoped the aerobatic dis­play by the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army Au­gust 1st Air Demon­stra­tion Team, which was to be held be­fore­hand, would be short. I also be­lieve that fewer spec­ta­tors paid as much at­ten­tion to the team as they did at pre­vi­ous Zhuhai shows be­cause of the J-20.

Now, look­ing at the blackand-white pictures of YuXu, a young flyer with the Au­gust 1st team who died in the line of duty, I think I should have watched more care­fully her last “sky dance” in Zhuhai.

I pre­sume she’d un­der­stand, as all of us, in­clud­ing pos­si­bly Yu, were so look­ing for­ward to see­ing China’s fifth-gen­er­a­tion stealth fighter jet and so happy that our na­tion fi­nally has a strong air force that can pre­vent a re­peat of the hu­mil­i­at­ing pe­riod that China en­dured sev­eral decades ago.

I read in me­dia re­ports that Yu had wished that some­day she could fly a J-20. This makes me feel deeply sorry for her, but I also think she was lucky be­cause she ac­tu­ally sawthe J-20. Many Chi­nese air force pi­lots prob­a­bly dreamed about such an ad­vanced plane but did not live to see it. Yu once told re­porters that she some­times en­vied oth­ers of her age who were not PLA per­son­nel be­cause “when we’re train­ing hard in the air force, they’re en­joy­ing a col­or­ful life”.

Yet she didn’t re­gret choos­ing to be a PLA pi­lot. “There are no things inmy youth so far that I should feel sorry for,” she said. “No mat­ter how tough the train­ing has been, I’ve never feared and re­treated.”

I owe a thank you to Yu, who will be for­ever young, and to her air force com­rades be­cause I know China and its peo­ple are safe thanks to them fly­ing high in the sky to safe­guard this land.

No mat­ter how tough the train­ing has been, I’ve never feared and re­treated.” Yu Xu, Chi­nese air force pi­lot

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.