The Air Force Just Graduated Its Largest Class Of Female Test Pilots And Engineers In History
A record number of women have graduated from the US Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
A total of 24 students just graduated from the school – five of them female, however the average number of females who usually graduate averages at around one or two per class.
Among them were Captain Casey Horgan, Captain Rachel Williams, Captain Sarah Vorgert, Captain Kalyn Tung and civilian Raina Duncan, who are known as their call signals Hulk, Tumble, Booster, PsiPhi and Shade.
While the number of them graduating from one given class certainly makes history, those graduating can’t get their heads around why more women aren’t getting involved in the profession.
‘There was never anything I was told I couldn’t or shouldn’t do. I grew up with great examples of female aviators, my mom included, and all of her friends and there was no barrier there,’ Horgan told CNN.
According to technical director David Vanhoy, those who graduates from Test Pilot School are pilots, engineers and combat systems operators who are disciplined to have the right mindset to improve the Air Force’s aircraft capabilities.
During their team at the school, the graduates are trained to work on and develop the latest technologies as they evolve, exploring how they can be used improve both the quality and performance of aircraft flying while also maintaining the vessels.
Over the years, several famous faces have graduated from the Test Pilot School, including General Chuck Yeager and Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin. Yeager, who passed away earlier this month, was the first man to fly faster than the speed of sound, later breaking his own record twice.
With only 45 students being accepted into the school each year, only the ‘best and brightest’ pilots and engineers make the cut. Around 250 to 300 applicants vie for the 45 spots every year, but only around 10% of those applications come from women.
The school itself is located in the Mojave Desert, at the world’s leading aeronautical test facility, where jets can constantly be seen flying overhead. However, what a lot of people might not know is that the school doesn’t actually teach people how to fly.
‘All pilots and engineers must have in-depth operational experience and a background of engineering degrees to even qualify to apply. Most pilots come in with over 1,000 hours of flying time including combat experience,’ Vanhoy explained.
Here’s to more female pilots and civilians graduating from the Test Pilot School.
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