China / People

Military career is based on control

By Zhao Ruixue in Liaocheng, Shandong (China Daily) Updated: 2015-12-23 07:56

Aviation regiment commander continues to fly high after three decades of piloting helicopters

Zhao Lizhun, the commander of an aviation regiment at the Jinan Military Area Command, carries two packages with him.

One contains navigation tools - slide rules, aeronautical charts and flight manuals. The other holds clothes and articles for daily use.

Two years ago on the first day of Spring Festival, the most important time for Chinese families to get together, Zhao directed two helicopters to take off half an hour after receiving an urgent order to get to a target region on time.

"Our country has taken care of me, and I have to be on call as long as it needs me," said the 50-year-old aviator.

Yan Haiying, Zhao's wife, said it's common for Zhao to leave home for missions less than half an hour after he arrives after work.

For the past 34 years, Zhao has flown military helicopters for 4,000 hours without a hitch and accomplished nearly 100 tasks without accident.

At the Sept 3 parade marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, Zhao led six training helicopters trailing colored smoke over Tian'anmen Square in perfect formation.

Zhao said it was the most challenging task he had carried out. "As the commander of the seven-aircraft formation, most of my efforts were focused on checking the other six helicopters' position to make sure the whole formation was in line," he said.

Ma Qingzeng, political commissar of the regiment, said Zhao is an excellent aviator, commander and trainer.

As an experienced aviator, Zhao also sets his sights on integrating aviation into joint warfare systems.

Ten years ago, Zhao began studying air defense, artillery and special forces. He started researching the role of aviation in joint military operations in 2013.

He also makes it a point to know every part of the helicopters.

"He once spent a whole day in the cockpit studying each component to understand how the fire control system works," aviator Wang Chong recalled.

Zhao has so far refitted five types of aircrafts.

He also highlighted the importance of collective effort.

"Every aviator matters for the successful completion of our tasks," Zhao said.

"Our comprehensive strength is enhanced by each and every one of us."

Last year, 15 aviators were prohibited from flying as they failed their theory exams, which require them to know the functions of hundreds of buttons, as well as the helicopters' structure, operational rules and procedures to deal with common breakdowns.

"Theoretical knowledge matters in flying skills and safety, which directly influence our comprehensive strength," he said.

Zhao also emphasized the importance of safety.

To that effect, signboards at the training ground spell out Heinrich's Law and Murphy's Law, accompanied by illustrations and photos.

Zhao is known for his personal discipline and control. Wang Daikun, who is responsible for the regiment's food supplies, said the only "luxury" Zhao allows himself is chili sauce.

His sole wish, Zhao said, is to continue flying for the country.

Military career is based on control

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