OK, I know. Its me and planes and women again. I get along with the first and love the other two. There was a noise today outside as I pulled pints in the Tavern, and looking from the patio I saw a lone plane doing aerobatics over the Tasman Bridge. Of course I watched it and let my mind turn to 'the game'.
It was a chap up there, RAAF, but sooner than one might imagine, even our small Air Force may have women fighter pilots we can show off to the world. Women like to be shown off. Heck they show themselves off.
There is still quite a bit of controversy about 'women pilots' and even more within some Forces about women fighter pilots. Training them presents some 'different' challenges, as someone I know quite well can attest. But all things change and adaptations take root. Even in the RAAF. A year back we heard this in the Oz bar:
Women poised to start flying RAAF fighter JetsAustralia could soon have its first woman fighter pilot and is likely to have at least five women in the cockpit of the Joint Strike Fighter when the cutting-edge warplane comes into operation at the start of next decade.
Little has been heard since!The Chief of the Air Force, Air Marshal Leo Davies, told Fairfax Media he was witnessing an "evolution" in attitudes towards women becoming fighter pilots nearly 30 years after the elite RAAF role opened to women.Women have been eligible to become RAAF pilots since 1987, but fighter jet cockpits have nonetheless remained the RAAF's last all-male domain, Air Marshal Davies said, akin to the army special forces or navy clearance divers.The RAAF has one "fast jet trainee" at the NSW Williamtown base with 76th Squadron, training on Hawk jets. She is "progressing well", he said.She was expected to complete that section of fighter training at the end of June, after which she will graduate to training on Hornet fighter jets, which are currently being used to bomb Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria.
Other nations make hay while the sun shines. And for many a summer long.
|Maj. Julie Moore. USAF|
Daddy' Little Fighter Pilot.
A fine Gal. Years and seniority, development of skill and experience, combat, leads to promotion. Just like for men. Do the time: show the progress; get on and upward. Here is one who did.
But for all the talk of 'male domination' ( a weasel-phrase used instead of 'where men have always stepped up' ) and 'glass ceilings' (an imaginary but very useful excuse) there remains the issue of 'quality'.
Are women any good at it? As I said to a Mensa 'person' a while back who was boasting of his IQ in the P&B, "You may be in the Top 2% in that but those people are in the top 2% of a whole bunch of attributes AND they put their lives on it".
All forces ask the same about the men who step forward. Most of them of course do not make it.
It is hardly surprising that many women do not either.
Yet it still takes some women into mild apoplexy when their excuse du jour is not accepted. Take the 'multi-tasking' canard for instance.
Let me show a lady looking at the issue and getting a bit of a slap-down. Gently of course. I have some familiarity with the techniques of selection shown here, having spent time selecting Aircrew and Officers m'self, many years ago, and having studied under the Psychologists who devised and developed the computerised processes shown here.
Can the 'average' person apply to be a pilot? Well, yes, but they will be refused. Fighter pilots especially are not average. They are far and away above average in the talents and abilities, aptitudes and qualities needed for the job. To train the 'average' person even to basic competence is a waste. And dangerous for them. So, can women achieve that level and be worth the taxpayers' money?
Of course. Some. A Few. Just like some, a few men.
Some females are born for the role. Some can achieve high command rank.
Other nations, as I said, have some female fighter pilots. Not many nations and not many females, but nevertheless they need to be noted. A few examples:
Singapore. I lived and served there, and at the airfield shown - Tengah Air Base.
China, of course, should be expected.
I have little doubt that the ladies acquit themselves as well as the men, on average. (Remembering that the average of them is well above most). But at the same risk and often, cost.
That cost is often the Life of the pilot.
You may recall that I posted about one such female pilot who died in her cockpit.
There have been others.
Yes, you might have thought that Muslim fighters were just hairy and nasty men in the desert in stolen humvees, cutting Christian heads off. Not so. Muslim countries (that routinely murder Christians) have Air Forces and women pilots. Marium Mukhtiar was on a routine training mission when her plane met an "in-flight emergency" over Mianwali district, the air force said. She and her co-pilot ejected. She later died from her injuries in hospital. She told BBC News last year of her journey into a traditionally male-dominated (that phrase again) world and desire to "do something different". Even muslim woman are infected with the envy of men.
The Chinese have the same experiences as others.
Women will face death as more become fighter pilots. Just as men have done for a century.
Welcome to equality, ladies. Please enjoy your flight.
Let us acknowledge pretty girls and aircraft. And weep for those that die extending the envelope.
Raise your tankards.