No flight of fancy

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page - By SO­PHIE GABRIELLE

It would be great to have more women as pilots – why can’t women do the same as men?

WHILE her friends are learn­ing to drive, Ta­mara Mertens (16) is al­ready fly­ing solo.

The Year 11 Perth Mod­ern School stu­dent wants to be Aus­tralia’s first fe­male fighter pi­lot.

She joined the Aus­tralian Air Force cadets when she was 13 and re­cently took her first solo flight at RAAF Base Pearce in a Cessna 152.

“It was the best ex­pe­ri­ence of my life, 18 min­utes up in the air, all on my own,” Ta­mara said.

“On take-off my heart is rac­ing a mil­lion miles an hour; it’s bet­ter than be­ing on a roller­coaster but once you are high in the air it is just re­ally peace­ful.

“It is to­tally ex­hil­a­rat­ing, es­pe­cially when you go full throt­tle as you are about to take­off or take part in aero­nau­tics.”

Ta­mara is study­ing hard to achieve the marks needed to get into the Aus­tralian De­fence Force Academy, where she will un­der­take a de­gree and fighter pi­lot train­ing.

“I think it’s great that girls can now as­pire to be fighter pilots,” Ta­mara says.

“It would be great to have more women as pilots – why can’t women do the same as men?

“We are more than ca­pa­ble and with train­ing can learn all the skills re­quired.”

Perth Mod­ern School prin­ci­pal Lois Joll said Ta­mara had all the at­tributes to make an out­stand­ing fighter pi­lot in the Aus­tralian Air Force.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d441613

Ta­mara Mertens wants to be Aus­tralia’s first fe­male fighter pi­lot.

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