The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Ground Force has said in a statement that first 10 female flight students trained by the PLA Ground Force would graduate and join operational units in 2021.
The statement added that the female trainees were selected in 2017 from high school graduates across the country as part of a recruitment drive launched to recruit women for flight training. These female trainees are currently studying at the PLA Ground Force Aviation Institute.
All these female flight students recently completed their first solo flights at a Ground Force airport in southern Shanxi province. A video clip released by the Ground Force showed.These students were trained to operate the French Gazelle light-duty helicopter to carry out some simple maneuvers.
These female flight students will continue taking flight training and will be assigned to Ground Force units after their graduation. The Ground Force has also released some pictures in which the women can be seen standing in front of several WZ-19 combat helicopters, sending a meesage that these students would operate such helicopters in the future.
It is to be noted that the Ground Force’s aviation wing uses helicopters that include combat, reconnaissance and transport models while the aviation units of the PLA Air Force and the PLA Navy deploy fixed-wing aircraft, .
The WZ-19 combat helicopter is developed by Aviation Industry Corp of China’s Harbin Aircraft Industry Group. The chopper is propelled by four blades driven by two turboshaft engines. It has a maximum cruise speed of 245 kilometers per hour, a maximum takeoff weight of 4.51 metric tons and an operational range of 700 kilometers, according to AVIC, which makes the aircraft. The helicopter can carry eight missiles and two rocket launchers and it is also equipped with armor plating and crash resistant seats.