China’s first female pilot of a J-10 fighter jet died in a flying accident on Saturday, the day after China ’s air force day, the Sichuan Communist Youth League reported on social media.
Yu Xu, 30, who was born in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan, was a member of the August 1st aerobatics team of the People’s Liberation Army’s air force. She was one of few female pilots who could fly domestically made fighter jets.
According to mainland media reports, Yu’s plane plunged to the ground after an unspecified accident, and she was unable to eject in time. The incident occurred in Hebei province.
The reports said Yu was flying with a male pilot, who was able to eject but was injured.
Yu applied to become a pilot in the air force in 2005 and, four years later, became one of China’s first 16 female pilots of fighter jets, according to Xinhua News Agency.
The aerobatics team participated in Airshow China in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, earlier this month.
The aerobatics team was founded in 1962 and named after the founding date of the PLA. It’s based at Yangcun Air Force Base near the city of Tianjin, home to the 24th fighter division.
Besides the August 1st team, China has two other aerobatic demonstration teams, Sky Wing and Red Falcon, which were both founded in 2011.
This year is the 67th anniversary of the air force, which was set up on November 11, 1949.