No flight of fancy
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.
Tamara Mertens wants to be Australia’s first female fighter pilot.