By Joseph Yeh, The China Post
Three pilots are currently training to become the first female jet fighter pilots to fly a second-generation fighter of the R.O.C., the Air Force announced on Wednesday. Lt. Chiang Ching-hua (蔣青樺), Lt. Chiang Hui-yu (蔣惠宇) and Lt. Fan Yi-ling (范宜鈴) are currently training to become pilots of Mirage-2000, F-16 and IDF fighters, respectively, the Air Force said on its Facebook page. The three types of second-generation fighter are among Taiwan’s main combat aircraft. All three female lieutenants are in their 20s and graduated from the R.O.C. Air Force Academy in 2014, it stated.
They have previously completed training in the flying of T-34 and AT-3 trainers as well as F-5E fighters, qualifying them to fly the more advanced fighter jets, it added. “No women have qualified to fly these advanced fighter jets before, it will be a huge physical challenge for them,” the Air Force said in the post. It encouraged the trio to complete the unprecedented accomplishment by completing the required nine-month training. In total, five female Taiwanese pilots have previously qualified to attempt the training for flying second-generation fighters since the first batch of female pilots entered service in 1993. But, none of them have succeeded, according to a Chinese-language United Evening News report. Endure 9G’s Most women pilots have been assigned to fly military aircraft with lower speeds such as helicopters, maritime aircraft and transport planes. Those seeking to become fighter pilots are required to endure a 9G’s spin for 15 seconds without passing out. Even after succeeding, every pilot must undergo the same test every two to three years to make sure he or she is still qualified to be a fighter jet pilot. Such strong forces are a huge burden on the human body, the report quoted sources as saying. During the previous Ma Ying-jeou administration from 2008 to 2016, Lt. Kao Tzu-yu (高慈妤) had high hopes of becoming the first female pilot to fly a second-generation fighter jet. However, she failed to pass the G-forces endurance test and is now serving as an instructor for the F-5E fighter at Taitung Air Base, the report said.