Lifelong aviator takes others under his wing

China Daily | Updated: 2017-06-12 08:03

Li and his fellow pilots operate from a control room filled with numerous displays that contain all sorts of information they must monitor and react to during a flight.

To ensure a mission is successful, all the numbers and readouts have to be followed very carefully.

Although Li's new role as drone operator is quite different from flying combat jets, he still thinks of himself as a pilot.

"I like flying and being a pilot is my job," he said. "I just want to be able to make a contribution to the military drone industry with my career."

He said he dreamed of being a pilot since he was a child and remembers that the only toy he had while growing up was a small wooden aircraft.

He started training to be a pilot at age 18 and in recent years has started to teach new recruits.

One of his students, Xiao Yuming, said Li is a dedicated tutor who helped them revise for their navigation tests everyday, even staying up until midnight on occasion.

"I feel like Li would like to teach us all he knows," said Ying Xia, another of his students.

Li's wife, Zhang Sujuan, has supported him through thick and thin, allowing her husband to focus on his career.

Citing a traditional Chinese poem, she said their relationship was like that between the blossoms and branches of a tree��always together, in both life and death.

Xin Wen contributed to this story.

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