First woman to fly China’s J-10 fighter killed in crash

BEIJING: China’s first female pilot to fly J-10 fighter and a member of the air force aerobatic team was killed in a training accident, according to Chinese state-run media.

Capt. Yu Xu, 30, died on Saturday during a routine training flight with the aerobatics team, according to reports. The accident happened in Hebei Province. Citing military sources and witnesses, the reports said Yu ejected from her aircraft after it collided with another during the training. After the ejection, the wing of another aircraft hit Yu, killing her. Yu’s male co-pilot ejected safely and survived. The other jet also landed safely.

Flight data recorder was recovered as authorities investigate the accident, China daily reported.

Yu, 30, joined the People’s Liberation Army Air Force in September 2005. She qualified as a fighter pilot in 2009 and qualified to fly the J-10 in 2012, when she soloed in the fighter.

The J-10 is a workhorse of the Chinese Air Force. Yu was the first of four women who are certified to fly the J-10, a single-engine multi-role jet that entered service in 2004 and is considered the first Chinese domestic fighter to rival Western fighters in its capabilities.

An estimated 400 of the jets have been built, most for Chinese use, according to defence analysts IHS Janes. It said in December last that reports had emerged of three crashes in the previous three months.

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