Australia’s first female fighter pilots graduate

Australia’s first female fighter pilots have completed their operational conversion course on the F/A-18 Hornet, Defence Minister Senator Marise Payne announced on Sunday.

“I congratulate the six graduates of our most recent Royal Australian Air Force fast jet pilot course – including the first two female pilots to graduate from this course,” Senator Payne said in a Facebook post on Sunday morning.

The six pilots successfully completed High Sierra, the three week intensive exercise that marks the culmination of 2OCU’s six-month long classic Hornet ‘opcon’.

“Air Force fighter pilot selection and training is comprehensive and rigorous, and only a select few ever graduate as qualified fighter pilots,” Senator Payne said.

“Years of dedication and hard work has brought these pilots to this point in their careers – and I wish to take this opportunity to thank them for providing such a fine example of the career opportunities and aspirations that can be realised in today’s Air Force.” 

The RAAF’s first woman pilots were awarded their ‘Wings’ in 1988, while females have been able to apply for selection to fly fast jets since 1995. A small number of woman pilots have been selected for fast jets, commencing training on the Hawk lead-in fighter trainer, but until none have graduated as fast jet pilots.