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.


  1. James says

    @ Janet

    If you’ve got 2 hands, two feet and a brain between your ears you can fly an aircraft. Male or female.

    No one would say women in general weren’t capable and if you read the story, women have been “given a chance” since 1995. Just the group that have come through before now missed out. No doubt did countless men…

    However, these ladies are clearly excellent drivers so it’s bloody great to see them get through and make a little history.

    I personally couldn’t care less what the gender is of my country’s fighter pilots. If they meet the standard, good on them.

  2. Dan says

    Brilliant effort well done ladies – many more female fighter pilots to graduate … thumbs up, well done

  3. Allan says

    Congratulations, may they have a long and rewarding career in the Airforce. Well done to all graduates.

  4. Gary says

    What female fighter pilots? Have we stooped so low as to bypass white heterosexual males for these important jobs. Have not these women got admin tasks to do or kids to raise.
    There is no way a female can do the job of a fighter pilot. What if she needs to go to the toilet. men don’t need to pee when flying jets. Oh the humanity of it all….. and if you have lasted this long you will pick my sarcasm. This in 2017 should not even be news. Females were flying helicopters in the Army 20 years ago and doing a stirling job.

  5. Craig says

    I would suggest that in the past it hasn’t just been about opportunity and capability but just as much about cultural fit. I would hope the fast jet culture has changed in recent years, and perhaps is now more open minded.