SHENYANG, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) -- After falling in love with the sky, Wang Ting quit her job as an office lady and became an aerobatic pilot, a typically male-dominated profession.
"I have always felt at ease in the sky and flying is my destiny," Wang, 31, said at an airport in Shenyang, capital of northeast China's Liaoning Province.
Dressed in a dark blue conjoined flying suit, she was a bit sweaty but full of energy. She and her six colleagues came from northwest China's Shaanxi Province to attend the Shenyang Faku International Flight Convention which concluded Monday.
Wang pilots a gyroplane, a type of rotorcraft that uses an unpowered rotor in the free autorotation to develop lift.
Her gyroplane weighs about 200 kg. A gasoline engine offers over 100 horsepower to push the aircraft, flying at a maximum speed of more than 100 km per hour.
Wang has over 300 flying hours and she knows everything about her aircraft. However, she did not always have aerial aspirations.
She used to be an accountant at a new energy company in Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi. When she moved to the city of Baoji in 2014, she applied to be an accountant for a local company which manufactures special vehicles and aircraft.
"The boss's wife asked the chief pilot to take me for a flight. The gyroplane didn't have a canopy, and I felt like I was part of the sky," said Wang. After that experience, she decided to quit her accounting job and applied to be a pilot in the company's pilot team.
Although the training was more challenging for women, gender has never been an insurmountable obstacle for Wang.
"Controlling the joystick requires strong muscles," she said. "Male pilots use one hand to push the joystick when taking off, but I had to use all my strength to operate the aircraft."
It took her several months to finish all the courses before she took her first solo flight, which remains fresh in her memory.
"It was a clear spring day without turbulence and I kept going higher, doing aerial tricks according to the commands I was given," she recalled. "The breeze touched my face, and a blue river ran across the ground below. It was amazing."
Aerobatics can be performed by a single aircraft or in formation with several other planes.
"Loop, dive, head-to-head...The aircraft can be as close as 15 meters from each other while in formation, so the pilot must be precise in every move and follow the orders of the lead gyroplane," she said.
Among Wang's 15-member aerobatic display team, she is the only woman. Her family's support has been a major element for Wang to have a successful flight career.
"My mom cares more about my safety but my dad, a military veteran, encouraged me to challenge myself instead of living a dull life," she said. "My husband helped me a lot; he is also a pilot in our team. I'm so proud of him."
Now, Wang has been an experienced pilot for almost four years, earning a decent salary and raising a happy family.
"I hope to be a pilot trainer in the future so I can help more people realize their dream to touch the sky," said Wang.