Mon, Jun 03, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Flag-waving cadet hopes to fly F-16s in Taiwan

LIFE-LONG DREAM:Liu Hsin-hsueh told his high-school newspaper that seeing the capabilities of the fighters made him determined to fly one

Staff writer, with CNA

The Taiwanese graduate who waved a Republic of China (ROC) flag at the US Air Force Academy’s graduation ceremony on Thursday is one step closer to his dream of becoming an F-16 pilot.

Liu Hsin-hsueh (劉欣學), the only Taiwanese among 991 graduates from the US and 10 other nations, is to be given the rank of second lieutenant when he returns home to become an air force officer and begin his training as a pilot, military sources said yesterday.

The cadet, who is also graduating from the ROC Air Force Academy later this month, would begin training with a T-34 Mentor and an AT-3 advanced jet trainer before being trained to use one of the nation’s three fighters — the F-16, the Mirage 2000 and the Indigenous Defense Fighter, the sources said.

Flying a fighter jet was Liu’s dream when he was a high-school student in Taichung, one of his teachers said.

Liu graduated from Taichung Municipal Hui Wen High School in 2014, the same year he passed tests to enroll at the ROC Air Force Academy.

In June 2015, the government paid for him to receive four years of training at the US academy.

In the US, Liu saw the capabilities of F-16s, which made him determined to become an F-16 pilot, he said in an interview with the Hui Wen school paper earlier this year.

Liu made headlines in Taiwan after he was filmed standing up and waving the ROC flag at the graduation ceremony.

For decades, Taiwan has sent military personnel to the US for advanced study and training.

In the absence of official diplomatic ties between Taiwan and the US, such programs were rarely made public.

However, the US in April announced a US$500 million package meant for “the continuation of a pilot training program and maintenance/logistics support for F-16 aircraft currently at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona.”

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