Woman pilot in Libya combat mission

Posted: 28/03/2011 in World

First woman believed to be flying RAF’s new Typhoon fighter

The team of UK pilots flying fast jets over Libya includes a woman who is understood to be the first to undertake combat missions in the RAF’s new Typhoon fighter. Pictured on Wednesday before taking off from the Italian air force base of Gioia del Colle, near Bari, the pilot has been helping to enforce the no-fly zone.

Women have been flying fast jets in the RAF since 1994, but no more than 10 are flying the Tornado or Typhoon at the moment. However, the number is on the rise, and about 12% of personnel in the RAF are now women.

Flight Lieutenant Jo Salter was the first to break into the ranks of fast jet pilots in 1994, two years after she earned her wings. Since then, a number of women have completed the £3m training course, which whittles down hundreds of potential recruits to a core of 30 deemed capable of becoming «Top Gun» pilots. Two years ago, Flt Lt Kirsty Moore became the first woman chosen to join the Red Arrows.

«There are no bars to women becoming pilots in the RAF,» the MoD said. «We have had women pilots in Harrier and Tornado jets, and now in the Typhoons.»

guardian

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