Chinese Female Demo Pilot Dies

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The first female member of a Chinese military demonstration team died in in an unrelated accident on Sunday. Yu Xu was unable to eject from the J-10 fighter she and another pilot were flying. The other pilot was able to get out but was injured in the ejection. The mishap was the latest in a string of at least five J-10 crashes in the past two years. Yu was one of 16 women in the Chinese military’s first intake of female fighter pilot trainees in 2005. She was one of four females qualified on the J-10, a single-engine jet that looks a lot like an F-16.

A few weeks ago, Yu performed as part of the August 1st aerobatics team, which flies J-10s, at the Zhuhai Air Show. The team is named for the founding date of the People’s Liberation Army and is based at Yangcun Air Force Base near Tianjin. “The morale of the aerobatics team will be hit. There has not been an incident like this for the team for a long time,” Macau military analyst Anthony Wong Dong told the South China Morning Post. There were no details released on the accident.