Female officer on way to becoming fighter pilot
An Air Force officer is on her way to realizing her dream of being a fighter pilot, as she is undergoing flight training at an air force base in the eastern county of Taitung.
After three months of training at the base, 1st Lt. Kao Tzu-yu ( ) completed a mission of flying an F-5E fighter solo that included mid- air drills such as rolls, on Wednesday.
“I made it,” said Kao, who added that when she landed, she screamed to express her absolute excitement.
During an interview with the local media, Kao said that it was not easy to learn how to operate the fighter in just three months. But she was happy that she managed to achieve the task.
Speaking of her dream, the 24-year-old said she had wanted to become a fighter pilot since high school.
In her third year in high school, she participated in a summer camp organized by the Ministry of National Defense, during which she was impressed by a performance by the Air Force’s Thunder Tiger Aerobatics Team, she said.
“It must be a wonderful experience,” she thought to herself at the time. That was the drive that pushed her to enter the Air Force Academy, which trains Air Force pilots as well as officers.
In pursuit of her dream, Kao did not see any inferiority in women as fighter pilots.
Women have an advantage of being more meticulous than men, and being meticulous is an important requirement for a fighter pilot, who has to pay great attention to a lot of details during flight, she said.
Wednesday’s training was just part of a nearly year-long training program, but Kao is confident that she will be able to overcome the tough training exercises ahead.
Her goal is to be an F-16 or Mirage 2000-5 fighter pilot in the future. The two types of 2nd-generation fighters are among Taiwan’s main combat aircraft.
If she completes the program, she will be the fourth female pilot qualified to pilot a fighter jet in the history of Taiwan’s military, the Air Force said.
Among the three female pilots who have completed the training for combat pilot, one has retired and the two others are currently AT-3 training craft instructors at the Air Force Academy, the Air Force said.