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China training more police officers as helicopter pilots

Thirteen public security officers have entered a training camp at the Tianjin-based Civil Aviation University of China to learn to fly helicopters.

The officers, who have been selected by the Ministry of Public Security from eight police organizations in China, are required to complete 18 months of studies starting Monday, including one year flight operation. Upon graduation, they will be granted commercial pilots' licenses by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).

Then they will become the first group of police aviation pilots trained independently in China, said Tao Junsheng, head of the police aviation management office under the Ministry of Public Security.

Before this training program, police pilots were either former pilots who had retired from various departments such as the Air Force or police personnel who had been sent abroad for helicopter training, he said.

"We hope to expand the police aviation service as helicopters have been proved to be more efficient and flexible when used for missions such as air patrols, traffic guidance, tracking and pursuit of fugitives, and rescue and relief in disasters," said Tao.

The Public Security Ministry said police departments in only 11 Chinese provinces and cities have been equipped with helicopters, 27 in all.

An extra 23 helicopters will be added to China's police departments' aircraft fleet in the next three to five years, said Tao.

Headquartered at Binhai International Airport of Tianjin, Civil Aviation University of China was upgraded from former China civil aviation college in May 2006. It has trained more than 70 aircraft maintenance personnel for the Public Security Ministry.

TIANJIN City of Glamour