Chinese pilots learn landing on first aircraft carrier
Beijing: Chinese pilots are learning how to take-off and land on the country's first aircraft carrier, a media report said on Friday.
China's first aircraft carrier was delivered and commissioned to the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy in September.
The carrier, formerly known as the Soviet ship Varyag, was renamed Liaoning and underwent years of refitting to install engines and weapons, as well as a year-long sea trials.
According to a series of photos showing flight training on the ship widely circulated online, the Liaoning now has conditions for aircraft to take off and land, the People's Daily reported.
"China's first-generation carrier-based fighter jets have conducted simulated landing exercises, particularly touch-and-go exercises many times in recent sea trials," it said.
A Chinese naval expert said that touch-and-go exercises can improve landing accuracy, and enable pilots to experience the feeling of landing on the aircraft carrier so as to break their psychological barriers.
"Chinese pilots have no experience in landing on the aircraft carrier, and must practice hard to gradually master the technique. If they can land accurately and stably during exercises, they will be more likely to land successfully on the aircraft carrier on real missions," the unnamed expert was quoted as saying.
Another Chinese military expert said that landing exercises for carrier-based aircraft mainly involve three stages. The first stage is simulated training on land, the second stage is touch-and-go exercises, and the third stage is actual landing on the aircraft carrier.
The expert pointed out that even if the landing training was completed, the aircraft carrier was still far from obtaining strong fighting strength.
"The combat strength of an aircraft carrier requires fine coordination and cooperation among seven or eight ground service groups," said the expert.
China is the 10th country around the world and the last among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to have an aircraft carrier in active service.