More than 200 middle school students in northwest China's Shaanxi Province have been selected as candidates to become air force pilots, part of a larger plan of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) to train student pilots, the Air Force said on Tuesday.
According to a plan announced in February, the PLA Air Force is setting up training bases in civilian high schools to provide flight training for around 1,000 students aged 14 to 16 annually.
The Air Force will interview applicants in cities like Beijing, Changsha, Chengdu, Jinan, Nanjing and Shenyang later.
Applicants in Shaanxi underwent 129 tests of their physique, personality, mental state and behavior over one and a half days to see whether they had a potential for flight.
Candidate pilots will later be examined politically, and those who score high enough in a junior high school graduation test in June will be chosen. Selected students will take the training in addition to their regular high school studies.
Successful applicants will receive a subsidy and should board at the schools. They will sign contracts committing themselves to apply for PLA aviation universities and participate in pilot recruitment tests after graduating from high school, said Peng Junxia, head of the Air Force pilot recruitment bureau.
He said that as air force weaponry is becoming more sophisticated, pilots should have a broader education, and the new scheme is designed to ensure they get it.
The PLA Air Force will also continue to recruit high school graduates without flight experience. However, it is common in other countries for pilots to accumulate flight experience before joining the air force.
The PLA Air Force recruited just over 1,000 high school students last year.