Herstory

Lt. Col. Christine Mau becomes first female F-35 pilot in U.S. Air Force

Lt. Col. Christine Mau, 33rd Operations Group deputy commander, puts on her helmet before taking her first flight in the F-35A on Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., May 5, 2015. Mau, who previously flew F-15E Strike Eagles, made history as the first female F-35 pilot in the program. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Marleah Robertson)

Christine Mau became the first woman to fly the F-35 Lightning II fighter jet this week, the U.S. Air Force revealed in a press release. Mau is an experienced pilot — she’d logged many hours in the sky at the controls of the F-15 Strike Eagle prior to this feat. The F-35 is billed by the Air Force as its premiere fighter jet and flies at nearly twice the speed of sound. “It wasn’t until I was taxiing to the runway that it really struck me that I was on my own in the jet,” she reportedly said. Mau had previously trained in an F-35 flight simulator. “I had a chase aircraft, but there was no weapons system officer or instructor pilot sitting behind me, and no one in my ear like in the simulators,” she explained, according to the press release. This is not Mau’s first brush with history. In 2011, she was reportedly a member of the first all-female combat sortie while in Afghanistan. “Flying is a great equalizer,” Mau said. “The plane doesn’t know or care about your gender as a pilot, nor do the ground troops who need your support.” Great point.

Read the full story at The Huffington Post.

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