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China mourns J-15 production head

English.news.cn   2012-11-29 21:31:10            

People attend a memorial service for Luo Yang, head of the production phase for China's new J-15 fighter jet, who died of a heart attack on Nov. 25, in the Huilonggang Cemetery for Revolutionaries in Shenyang, capital of northeast China's Liaoning Province, Nov. 29, 2012. Luo experienced a heart attack after observing aircraft carrier flight landing tests for China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, on Nov. 25. He later died in hospital at the age of 51. He was also chairman and general manager of Shenyang Aircraft Corp. (SAC), a subsidiary of China's state-owned aircraft maker, Aviation Industry Corp. of China (AVIC). (Xinhua/Yang Qing)

SHENYANG, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- During his busiest days, Luo Yang worked around 18 hours a day. As the head of the production phase of the J-15 fighter jet, Luo played a key role in the flight landing tests on China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning.

But within hours of the jet making a successful landing on the Liaoning on Sunday, Luo died of a heart attack.

"He was not feeling well when everyone else was preparing for a grand celebration Sunday night," said Xie Genhua, Party secretary of the Shenyang Aircraft Corp. (SAC).

"On our way back to the hotel, he told me to go on his behalf," Xie realized there was a problem. "He was simply not the type of person to make excuses."

Xie took Luo to the nearest hospital. Emergency rescue lasted for three hours, but to no avail.

"He rested in peace. There was no regret on his face, probably because of our big success," said Meng Jun, chairman of Shenyang Liming Aero-Engine (Group) Corporation LTD, a subsidiary of China's state-owned aircraft maker, Aviation Industry Corp. of China (AVIC).

Luo had a tight schedule during the last days of his life.

On Nov. 17, he ended a visit to the 9th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, in southern China's city of Zhuhai, and went directly to his office in Shenyang. He then soon moved on to the carrier test base in Dalian.

His wife Wang Xili, who is a specialist in traditional Chinese medicine, had not even seen him for 17 days.

"Yang, I know how exhausted you have been these days," Wang whispered to her deceased husband at the funeral home in Dalian Sunday night.

Wang never expected her husband, a tall, square-shouldered and good-natured man would die so young.

Luo, a 1982 graduate of Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics -- now known as Beihang University -- enjoyed sports. He won first place in the university's 400-meter running team and was one of the best players in the school volleyball team.

For 30 years, however, he was dedicated to jet design and production and had little time to exercise, relaxation or domestic affairs. He even hardly had enough time for his daughter, who now attends university in Shanghai.

"He asked for a half-day leave only once, on the day his daughter sat for the college entrance exam," said Ren Zhongkai, Luo's secretary.

More than 3,000 people stood in silence in the Huilonggang Cemetery for Revolutionaries in a tearful farewell to Luo.

At the SAC plant more than 15,000 staff members observed a moment of silence.

Technicians on the J-15 assembly line remained on duty to pay their respects to their leader.

"Luo's image lingers in my mind all day long. I just sit in silence and chain smoke," said Sun Cong, chief designer of the J-15.

"After the flight landing tests on Saturday, we sat on the carrier's stairs and talked until night about the technical advancement of the J-15," said Sun, whose eyes were bloodshot from crying.

Sun used to be nervous when Luo invited him to dinner, because, "I knew it must be to push for a new technical breakthrough. But we have no more opportunities to talk."

Meng Jun said, "People can hardly imagine the severe stress during his eight days on the carrier."

Luo was tasked with monitoring and recording the entire process of the landing flight tests.

"He stood within 20 meters of the take-off point of the J-15, whose spectacular roar was unbearable to people's hearts," Meng added.

Luo's early death aroused public concerns of the pressures on people in high-tech fields and alerted the country to avoid similar tragedies.

"Luo's dedicated spirit to work should be cherished, while there is an urgent need to pay high attention to the health of the country's high-tech professionals," said a netizen Zuogeyouming.

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, extended his "condolence with deep feelings of grief" on the unexpected death of Luo.

Xi called Luo's death "a big loss to the Party as well as to the nation." He also extended words of comfort to Luo's family.

Xi asked relevant departments to take care of Luo's family and ordered effective measures to ensure the health of front-line crew.

Since being delivered to the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy on Sept. 25, the carrier has undergone a series of sailing and technological tests, including the flight of the carrier-borne J-15.

Some foreign media once predicted that China would take at least 18 months to realize the success of the carrier-borne jet.

"We made it successful in only two months with the flight landing as proof. The amazing miracle is supported by China's numerous aviation staff like Luo," said Lin, president of the AVIC.

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Editor: An
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