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C919 Maiden Flight Captain from SUES
05/18/2017 changningtimes

The wholly homemade airliner C919 took its maiden flight at Shanghai Pudong International Airport lately, for which Cai Jun graduating from Shanghai University of Engineering Science (SUES) took the position of captain. His alma mater revealed the secret of his success.


Cai Jun’s dream of becoming a pilot dates back to 1997, when he was studying in the university. Cai was not in a major training pilots at that time. He was admitted into the School of Air Transport, SUES in 1995 to major in Aviation Operation and Administration. In 1997, with his outstanding physical quality and academic performance, he was included in a pilot training plan.


In the model of contract-based training, Cai Jun started to be trained in Civil Aviation Flight University of China located in Guanghan, Sichuan Province and was employed by China Eastern Airlines in 1999, gradually turning from a pilot into a captain of civil aviation. In the eyes of his teachers, Cai is mature and modest, but never afraid of challenges. “He’s firm and ambitious. He really enjoys flying in the sky.” In 2011, he gave up the secure job of captain in China Eastern Airlines to take another challenge: joining in the team of COMAC Test Pilot and getting trained in the US.


According to public data of COMAC, during the development of ARJ21, Cai Jun took tasks of flight check, air line demonstration flight, and RVSM development and test flight. As for the development of C919, he assumed the jobs of evaluation of jig and airplane control law, evaluation of cockpit, regular and irregular programming, and conducted experimental duties including two maiden flight drills, two trial glide test, low-speed glide and medium-speed glide.


Higher requirements are set for a test pilot than for an average civil aviator. To be a test pilot you need to learn to handle different situations rather than following preset steps as an aviator. In a lecture given to students of SUES, Cai Jun said test flight is not just about techniques. Reading and practicing are both significant. “To be a good pilot, you need to think more.”


But it’s good news that those who want to become pilots now have even better conditions than before. According to He Fajiang, Head of the School of Air Transport, the major of Flight Technology of SUES is a quality major listed among “Excellent Engineer Plan” of the Ministry of Education and a pilot major of Shanghai Application-oriented Universities, providing talent trainings at the levels of junior college, undergraduate and graduate that combine formal education, training for license and technical research. For instance, from 2015 to 2016, the partnered practice bases of the university expanded from the USto Canada, Franceand Australia, reaching almost 10 in total, thus greatly boosting the world influence of Chinese trainee pilots.


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