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'Must-see' air show wows public, prospective pilots

By China Daily | China Daily | Updated: 2015-09-11 07:39

A highflying stunt played out in blue skies as Changchun, Jilin province, kicked off its biannual aviation festival on Thursday. The festival is the largest sponsored since 2011 by PLA Air Force Aviation University and is open to the public.

Titled Chasing Dreams in Blue Sky, the festival aims to "show the charm of the Air Force and to attract into military service more young people who are interested in aviation," said Li Chunchao, deputy chief of staff of the Air Force.

A thousand new pilots joined the People's Liberation Army Air Force this year, including 60 who are also studying at Peking University, Tsinghua University and Beihang University, according to Air Force spokesman Shen Jinke.

Parachute teams from Aviation University and the Bayi (Aug 1) Aerobatics Team that appeared in the victory parade in Beijing on Sept 3 performed for the public.

While none of the aircraft were making a first-time appearance, complex stunts and maneuvers designed especially for the event - including an "arrow to the heart" maneuver produced by colorful smoke - impressed the audience.

"I like that design," said Yang Li, who came with her 9-year-old son. "We got up at 5 this morning. My child has been fascinated with airplane models and I felt that it would be exciting for us to see the Bayi team at home. It's not at all the same as a broadcast on TV. It has a deafening roar and a strong visual impact.

The show is "a definite must-see for aviation enthusiasts like us," she said, pressing her hands over her ears when a plane flew overhead just 100 meters off the ground.

For the 42 fresh pilots sitting on the other side of the viewing stand, the performance was, in Shen's words, a "welcome gift" on their first day of school.

Wang Yanfei contributed to this story.


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