Asia

Honored PLA pilot inspires younger Chinese


Qiu Linhui (second from left) communicates with team members for experience and feedback, after fulfilling a flight mission in March, 2019. YU HONGCHUN/FOR CHINA DAILY

Lieutenant Colonel Qiu Linhui received his latest honorary title in August, becoming one of the People’s Liberation Army’s 12″best revolutionary soldiers in the new era”.

Before receiving the new title, the 35-year-old fighter jet pilot had won a host of other honors from the PLA Air Force and had been regarded as one of the top aviators in the Chinese military.


People’s Liberation Army Air Force member Qiu Linhui and his teammates undergo training on July 12. YU HONGCHUN/FOR CHINA DAILY

Born in June 1986, Du joined the PLA Air Force in September 2004 and was then sent to a flight academy. After graduating from the academy, he was assigned to an Air Force fighter jet unit.

In 2017, his fine skills and remarkable performance earned Du a promotion to the deputy commander of the Du Fengrui Regiment, an elite Air Force unit that was named after an air combat hero. The next year, he was named the unit’s 26th commander.


PLA Air Force members wear flight gear after receiving a mission task in July. YU HONGCHUN/FOR CHINA DAILY

During his service in the regiment, Du achieved several breakthroughs in training and combat exercises.

One widely reported example is when the unit commissioned its first J-16 strike aircraft, Du spent a lot of time studying and learning about the new equipment. After practicing flight maneuvers, he decided to replace the traditional adaptive training method with a new approach that integrates technical learning, hardware familiarization and tactical training.

As a result, the new approach enabled his pilots to familiarize themselves with the aircraft in a shorter period of time, while also improving the efficiency of the training program, Du’s superiors said.


PLA Air Force fighter jets glide on the runway in March, 2019. YU HONGCHUN/FOR CHINA DAILY

In the Air Force’s annual aerial combat contest in 2018 and the annual land-strike competition in 2019, Qiu cooperated with his backseat weapon operator to defeat a number of elite pilots from other Air Force units. He won the championship for the two top contests.

Headed and guided by Qiu, pilots in the Du Fengrui Regiment are always motivated by esprit de corps and the pursuit of excellence. They strive to become top aviators like their commander.


After completing a flight mission, Qiu Linhui is back in his dormitory and appreciates a gift given by his son in July. YU HONGCHUN/FOR CHINA DAILY

Several pilots in the regiment have since been decorated by the Air Force thanks to their outstanding fighting skills.

The aircraft flown by Du’s regiment-the J-16 multirole strike fighter-is one of the best hardware items deployed by the PLA Air Force. Developed by Aviation Industry Corp of China, the jet is equipped with advanced radar, electronic and weapon systems.


Qiu Linhui is well-equipped and ready to carry out air combat training in July. YU HONGCHUN/FOR CHINA DAILY

The tandem-seat plane is reported to have made its maiden flight in 2011 and is believed to have entered service in 2015. Its public debut was in July 2017 when the aircraft took part in a massive parade to mark the 90th anniversary of the PLA’s founding.

Zhao Lei contributed to this story.