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PLA Air Force Aviation University (Changchun): A Guide for Aspiring Cadets

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You might have heard of the PLA Air Force Aviation University (Changchun) or the Aviation University. This is one of China’s most prestigious and selective military universities, where you can receive academic and flight training to become a qualified pilot, engineer, or officer in the PLAAF.

This article will give you an overview of the history, admission, tuition, ranking, programs, campus life, athletics, notable alumni, and frequently asked questions of the Aviation University so you can decide if this is the right place for you.

History of The PLA Air Force Aviation University

The Aviation University was established in 1946 as the Northeastern Democratic United Army Aviation School, the first aviation school of the Communist Party of China. It was renamed several times over the years, and in 2004, it merged with three other flight academies to form the current Aviation University. In 2012, it absorbed another flight academy, making it the largest aviation university in China. The Aviation University has a long and glorious history of cultivating outstanding pilots and leaders for the PLAAF and has contributed to many important missions and achievements, such as the first manned spaceflight, the first spacewalk, and the first female astronaut of China.


Admission to the Aviation University is highly competitive and requires a nomination from a local military district or a provincial-level government. Only a small percentage of applicants are accepted each year, and they must pass a series of physical, psychological, and academic tests, interviews, and background checks. The admission process usually starts in October and ends in April annually. Applicants must be Chinese citizens, between 17 and 22 years old, unmarried, and have a high school diploma or equivalent. They must also meet aviation service’s height, weight, vision, and health standards. Applicants can apply for one of the four categories of majors: pilot, engineer, air traffic controller, or air reconnaissance intelligence.

Tuition Cost at The PLA Air Force Aviation University

As a military university, Aviation University does not charge tuition fees for its students. Instead, students receive a monthly stipend of about 800 yuan, which covers their living expenses, uniforms, books, and other necessities. Students also enjoy free medical care, insurance, and accommodation on campus. However, students must sign a contract with the PLAAF and agree to serve for at least 10 years after graduation. If they fail to complete their studies or service, they must pay a penalty fee of up to 500,000 yuan.

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Aviation University is not ranked by the usual academic ranking systems, such as the QS World University Rankings or the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, because it is a military institution that does not participate in international evaluations or collaborations. However, it is widely recognized as one of the top military universities in China, and one of the best aviation universities in the world. It has a strong reputation for its quality of education, research, and innovation, as well as its achievements in aerospace and defense. It is also affiliated with the PLA Air Force, one of the world’s most powerful and advanced air forces.

Programs offered at the PLA Air Force Aviation University

The Aviation University offers four-year undergraduate and three-year postgraduate programs in various aviation and aerospace fields. The undergraduate programs are divided into four categories: pilot, engineer, air traffic controller, and air reconnaissance intelligence. The pilot category includes fighter, bomber, transport, helicopter, and trainer majors. The engineer category includes majors such as aircraft design, maintenance, electronics, weapons, and aerospace engineering.

The air traffic controller category includes majors such as air traffic management, flight information service, and navigation service. The air reconnaissance intelligence category includes majors such as radar, electronic warfare, and information security. The postgraduate programs mainly focus on research and development and cover topics such as aerodynamics, propulsion, control, communication, navigation, and simulation.

Campus Life

Campus life at the Aviation University is rigorous and disciplined but also enriching. Students must follow a strict daily routine, which includes morning exercises, flag-raising ceremonies, classes, military training, self-study, and evening roll call. Students must also wear uniforms, salute, and obey the orders of their instructors and seniors. However, students also have opportunities to relax and have fun, such as participating in extracurricular activities, clubs, sports, and cultural events. The Aviation University has a large and beautiful campus with modern facilities, such as libraries, laboratories, simulators, stadiums, and dormitories. The campus also has a museum, a monument, and a park, which showcase the history and achievements of the Aviation University and the PLAAF.


The Aviation University has a strong tradition of athletics, encouraging its students to engage in physical exercise and sports. The Aviation University has several sports teams, such as basketball, soccer, volleyball, table tennis, and badminton, which compete in intercollegiate and national tournaments. The Aviation University also hosts an annual sports festival with various competitions and performances. The Aviation University is especially proud of its aerobatic team, composed of elite pilots who perform stunning maneuvers and formations in the sky. The aerobatic team has won many awards and honors, and has participated in many international air shows and festivals.

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Notable Alumni

The Aviation University has produced many notable alumni, who have made significant contributions to the PLAAF and the nation. Some of the most famous alumni include:

  • Li Ming: A member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and a pioneer of aerospace engineering in China. He was the chief designer of the Shenzhou spacecraft, which carried the first Chinese astronaut into space in 2003.
  • Yang Liwei: The first Chinese astronaut, and a national hero. He flew on the Shenzhou 5 mission in 2003, and became the 241st human and the first taikonaut to travel in space.
  • Zhai Zhigang: The first Chinese spacewalker, and a commander of the Shenzhou 7 mission in 2008. He performed the first extravehicular activity by a Chinese astronaut, and waved the Chinese flag in space.
  • Liu Yang: The first Chinese female astronaut, and a role model for women. She flew on the Shenzhou 9 mission in 2012, and became the 526th human and the 57th woman to travel in space.
  • Wang Yaping: The second Chinese female astronaut, and a popular educator. She flew on the Shenzhou 10 mission in 2013, and conducted the first live lecture from space to millions of students across China.
  • Yu Xu: The first female pilot of the J-10 fighter jet, and an aerobatic team member. She was nicknamed the “Golden Peacock”, and was admired for her courage and skill. She died in a training accident in 2016, and was posthumously awarded the “Heroic Pilot” title.


The PLA Air Force Aviation University (Changchun) is a prestigious and selective military university that trains the future pilots, engineers, and officers of the PLAAF. It offers a challenging and rewarding education and a rich and diverse campus life. It has a long and glorious history and has produced many notable alumni who have made remarkable achievements in aerospace and defense. If you are passionate about aviation and aspire to serve the nation, the Aviation University might be the perfect place.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions that people may have about the Aviation University:

  • Q: How many students are enrolled in the Aviation University?
  • A: The Aviation University has about 10,000 students, including 8,000 undergraduates and 2,000 postgraduates.
  • Q: How long is the flight training for the pilot majors?
  • A: The pilot majors’ flight training lasts about two years and includes basic, intermediate, and advanced courses. The flight training is conducted at different bases and airports across China, depending on the aircraft type and difficulty level.
  • Q: What are the benefits of graduating from the Aviation University?
  • A: Graduating from the Aviation University means that you have received a high-quality education and training and have become a qualified and competent member of the PLAAF. You will also enjoy a stable, honorable career, generous salary, and welfare. You will also have opportunities to further your studies, advance your rank, and participate in important missions and projects.
  • Q: What are the challenges of studying at the Aviation University?
  • A: Studying at the Aviation University is not easy and requires hard work, dedication, and discipline. You will face high academic standards, strict military regulations, and intense physical and mental pressure. You must also sacrifice some of your freedom, privacy, and leisure time. You must also cope with the risks and dangers of flying and fighting in the air.
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