China / Society

Air force recruits student pilots

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-10-19 16:42

XI'AN - The People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force has started recruiting student pilots for 2016 at 16 aeronautical schools in 11 provinces, part of a larger military plan to train pilots in cooperation with civilian schools.

The Air Force revealed the news at a ceremony welcoming 110 newly recruited student pilots Sunday in Xi'an, capital of Northwest China's Shaanxi province.

Student pilots should be between the ages of 14 and 16. Applicants will be tested on physical, personality, mental and behavioral criteria over one and a half days to see whether they have potential as pilots.

Candidate pilots will later have to pass a political evaluation, and those who score high enough on a junior high school graduation test in June will be chosen. Selected students will receive training in addition to their regular high school studies.

Successful applicants will receive a subsidy and should board at the schools. They will sign contracts to commit to applying for PLA aviation universities and participating in pilot recruitment tests following high school graduation, according to the Air Force.

As air force weaponry becomes more sophisticated, pilots should receive a broader education, and the new scheme is designed to ensure the need is met, an air force officer said earlier this year.

The PLA Air Force will also continue to recruit high school graduates without flight experience. However, it is common in other countries for pilots to gain flight experience before joining the air force.

The Air Force said Monday that male high school graduates between the ages of 17 and 20, or male military college graduates younger than 24, are eligible to apply to become air force pilots.

The PLA Air Force recruited just over 1,000 high school students last year.

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