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Chinese students rush to join air force
Updated: 2004-05-08 08:43

Around 60,000 high school students have applied to join the country's air force as pilots, according to an air force source.

A senior officer with the Air Force Draft Board said several thousand of them, involving several high schools, have passed their initial physical tests.

The applicants have to pass the national college entrance examinations scheduled for June, said the officers, who declined to say how many of them will be recruited.

The air force will conduct stringent second physical tests among the applicants that passed the college examinations and initial physical exams.

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

Last June, the Air Force announced that it had enrolled the first group of 19 graduates specializing in science and engineering from thousands of applicants from 74 Chinese universities. They are the first group enrolled from civilian colleges,

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.

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's degree, said the officer.

Also in June this year, 20 pilots, China's first group of Air Force pilots with bachelor's degrees, left their training center for service 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.

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