Fe­male of­fi­cer on way to be­com­ing fighter pi­lot

The China Post - - LOCAL -

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.

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