One of China's two female astronaut candidates was once a hero pilot who successfully dealt with a mid-air emergency, Sanqin Metropolis Daily reported Monday.
Liu Yang was taking part in a routine PLA flight when her plane had a large bird strike shortly after takeoff.
The windshield splattered with blood and the cockpit filled with a burning smell after it hit 18 pigeons. Liu managed to stabilize the plane and made a successful emergency landing 11 minutes after the incident occurred.
Born in Henan province in 1978, Liu enrolled into Changchun No 1 Flight College of the PLA Air Force after graduating from high school and later became an Air Force cargo plane pilot.
In China, pilots with the experience of dealing with emergencies are preferred for astronaut selection.
Numerous reports claim Liu Yang and Wang Yaping are China's two female astronaut candidates. One of them will be selected as a crew member of the Shenzhou IX manned space mission, becoming China's first female astronaut.