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China's Air Force offers bonuses to student-turned pilots
( 2003-11-03 09:48) (Xinhua)

The Chinese Air Force has offered bonuses to 19 college graduate pilot trainees it enlisted this year in a bid to lure more for the military service, sources said on Friday.

A senior officer with the Air Force Draft Board said the 19 pilot trainees, the first group it enrolled from civilian colleges, were each awarded a bonus of 5,000 yuan (609 US dollars) in cash.

They will study aviation theories and flying in the China Air Force Aviation College for two years, said the officer.

Those who qualify will become pilots with a military bachelor degree, said the officer.

The Air Force announced in June that it had enrolled the first group of 19 graduates specializing in sciences and engineering from thousands of applicants from 74 Chinese universities.

The graduates have become the first students enrolled by the aviation college from universities without military backgrounds since China implemented the reform of military aviation college enrollment in 1987.

Also in June this year, 20 pilots, China's first group of airforce pilots with bachelor degrees, left their training center for services in combat units flying new fighter planes.

They were selected from among 5,000 university graduates from 19 military academies or colleges in July, 2000.

The pilots were described by Air Force officers as well informed and well educated with a good command of foreign languages.

The Air Force has started recruiting and training high-caliber servicemen to match the increasing complexity of weapons and facilities.

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