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Military names jet pilots killed in training

China Daily

The People's Liberation Army air force on Tuesday night released the identities of the two pilots killed in a fighter jet crash on Sunday in Shandong province.

The move shows the military is becoming more transparent, and the country is giving due honor and respect to its soldiers, said Wang Yanan, deputy editor-in-chief of Aerospace Knowledge magazine.

The PLA released the identities shortly before Tomb Sweeping Day, a traditional occasion to commemorate the dead, which falls on Thursday.

The two pilots are Wu Yongming, 36, deputy chief-of-staff of a regiment, and 33-year-old Yu Liang, a flight battalion chief.

Wu was from Henan province, and Yu, Sichuan province. Both were crack pilots, according to the air force.

"The country kept everything about national defense a secret in the 1970s and 1980s. But since the 1990s, authorities have gradually started to release personal information about soldiers who sacrificed their lives, though not always in a timely manner," said Wang, a military analyst, on Wednesday.

He said the information about the pilots in the latest crash was released quickly, which enabled the public to learn more about "the contributions made by heroes to the motherland".

A Su-27 fighter jet crashed near the coastal city of Rongcheng in Shandong on Sunday afternoon, killing the pair. There were no reports of damage or injuries to people on the ground.

The crash occurred when the pilots were in the middle of a training mission, according to the PLA air force.

"At present, China's air force has a good safety record on flight training. But accidents during training are unavoidable," Wang said. "When pilots embark on military careers, they also choose to face the dangers."

An article on the Ministry of National Defense website, written by Shen Jinke, an officer of the PLA air force, hails the two pilots as excellent representatives of the 400,000 PLA air force soldiers who are "faithful and courageous".

 

jinzhu@chinadaily.com.cn