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Air Force mourns death of 'Father of IDF fighter jet'

2017/01/24 22:12:07

CNA file photo

Taipei, Jan. 24 (CNA) Taiwan's Air Force on Tuesday mourned the death of Hua Hsi-chun (華錫鈞), known locally as "Father of the IDF fighter jet," saying he made a significant contribution to the research and development of Taiwan's indigenous defense fighter (IDF).

In a statement released on Tuesday, the Air Force Command Headquarters expressed its "deep condolences" over the death of Hua, who passed away earlier that day in central Taiwan's Taichung at the age of 92.

Hua, who graduated from the Republic of China Air Force Academy, was a dedicated fighter jet pilot and U-2 high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft pilot in his early years, the Air Force said.

He studied in the United States in the 1960s and obtained a Ph.D. from Purdue University's School of Aeronautics and Astronautics. After returning to Taiwan, he led the research and development program for the AIDC F-CK-1 Ching-kuo, which is named after late President Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) and more commonly known as the IDF jet, according to the Air Force.

Hua also served as executive vice president of National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology, the No. 1 weapons research and development center in Taiwan. He was also former director of Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation.

In 2012, Hua donated NT$15 million (US$478,112) to National Cheng Kung University to help train students in aviation industry related subjects. Last year, he donated more than NT$10 million to establish a foundation to serve as a think tank for the aviation sector.

(By Christie Chen and Lu Hsin-hui)