BEIJING, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- Sixteen female fighter pilots are expected to make a debut during the upcoming National Day Parade on Oct. 1.
As the country's first group of female fighter pilots, they graduated from the No. Three Flying College of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force in April. Their first task is to take part in the National Day Parade.
"They have so far undergone more than 100 hours of flight training for the parade," said Jiang Ming, team leader for the group and also deputy dean of the No. Three Flying College, which had nurtured Shenzhou-7 astronauts Zhai Zhigang and Liu Boming who orbited the earth for three days in September last year.
According to statistics of PLA air force, China is among the 16countries in the world to have female pilots in active service. And China is one of the eight countries to have female fighter pilots.
PLA air force started enrolling female pilots in 1951 and has successfully trained about 300 women cargo-transport plane pilots.
China also concluded the preliminary selection of candidates of the country's second batch of astronauts on Thursday. They included 30 men and 15 women who are all air force pilots.
Among the candidates, five men and two women would be chosen to join the space program. And "it is the first time that women are among the candidates for astronauts," authorities said.
The preliminary selection had been conducted by the PLA Air Force since May. Applicants had undergone through physical and psychological examinations.