The air force yesterday held an event at Chihhang Air Base in Taitung County featuring the nation’s first female fighter pilots — Chiang Ching-hua (蔣青樺), Chiang Hui-yu (蔣惠宇) and Fan Yi-lin (范宜鈴).
Between the three captains, female aviators now pilot all three types of the nation’s frontline fighter jets, the AIDC F-CK-1, the Dassault Mirage 2000 and the Lockheed Martin F-16, Air Force Command said.
The three women are graduates of the Air Force Academy’s class of 2014 and attended flight school together at Chihhang, where they received instruction on T-34 and AIDC AT-3 training aircraft, it said.
Photo: Tu Chu-min, Taipei Times
Fan, Chiang Ching-hua and Chiang Hui-yu have been assigned to the 1st, 2nd and 4th Tactical Fighter Wings respectively, it added.
The women flew their aircraft from their units’ assigned posts to Chihhang for the event.
The three will help to break the stereotype that women are unsuited for service as fighter pilots, the command said, adding that flight instructors concluded from their training that gender has no bearing on fighter pilot skills.
Chiang Ching-hua, who pilots the Mirage 2000 and hails from a military family, said that she wanted to be a fighter pilot since attending an air force open base event as a child and seeing her first Mirage.
Entranced by the warplane’s graceful lines and aerobatics display, she said that she enrolled at the academy as soon as she could.
Fighter pilot training was grueling, but she overcame the hardships thanks to the camaraderie of her fellow trainees, she said, adding that when she first climbed into a cockpit, the intricacies of flying pushed all other thoughts out of her mind.
“I did not even remember that I had dreamed of that moment, but then the airplane took off and the excitement was indescribable,” Chiang Ching-hua said.
She thanked her parents for their support, despite considerable nervousness, saying that her mother came from a military community and had grown up seeing officers delivering “bad news” to families.
“Nowadays, whenever my mother sees a fighter jet, she calls to ask: ‘Was that you?’ to which I reply: ‘Mom, not every fighter jet is flown by your daughter,’” Chiang Ching-hua said.
Fan, who flies the F-CK-1, said: “A lot of people ask me if there is any difference between male and female pilots, or if flying is hard on my body. The answer is always no.”
“G-force and the mission do not sexually discriminate, nor do the air force’s standards,” she added.
Chiang Hui-yu, who pilots the F-16, said: “Where there is will and perseverance, there is nothing you cannot do.”
She said she is always honing her skills as a pilot to challenge herself and to protect her nation.
In related news, the Ministry of National Defense’s remark on Saturday that Major Yang Yun-hsuan (楊韻璇) is the first female AH-64 Apache pilot in Asia appears to be incorrect, as Singapore Army Captain Joyce Xie was identified as a pilot of the attack helicopter in a 2012 report by the Singaporean Ministry of Defence.
Taiwan’s military has pushed to open more occupational specialties to women, who comprised 13.6 percent of the nation’s volunteer armed forces last year.
Women are able to serve as infantry, artillery gunners, military police, aviators and missile operators, as well as most positions in the navy.
LAND ALERT UNCERTAIN: The CWB was waiting to observe how In-Fa shifts as it moves north to determine when to issue a land alert, a forecaster at the bureau said Residents of northern Taiwan should brace for heavy rain today and tomorrow as Typhoon In-Fa approaches the northeast, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said yesterday. A land alert for the typhoon would be issued depending on the angle at which it moves north today, the bureau said. The bureau on Wednesday issued a sea alert for the typhoon, which applies to ships operating off the nation’s northern, northeastern and southeastern coasts. As of 8:30pm yesterday, In-Fa’s center was 470km southeast of Taipei, moving northwest at 6kph. It was carrying maximum sustained winds of 180kph, and had a radius of 200km. The typhoon was moving
TARGET RAISED: The CECC said vaccination coverage has reached 24.35%, while Premier Su Tseng-chang said the government hopes for 30% by the end of July The government has signed a contract to buy an additional 36 million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, 1 million of which are to be delivered in the fourth quarter, the Executive Yuan announced yesterday, as it updated its vaccination target to 30 percent coverage by the end of the month. The two-year deal with the US company covers “prime series” vaccines and future booster shots to protect against SARS-CoV-2 variants, Executive Yuan spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) quoted Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) as saying during an Executive Yuan meeting in Taipei. In the two weeks since vaccine registration opened, more than 9.8
NEXT ROUND: About 1.44 million people who have registered online to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine are to get text messages today to book a vaccine appointment Strict border control measures, including a ban on foreign nationals entering or transiting through Taiwan, are to continue, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported 10 locally transmitted COVID-19 infections and no deaths. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said five of the cases tested positive during isolation or upon ending it. The sources of infection of eight cases have been identified, one remains unclear and one is under investigation, he said, adding that 87.8 percent of the people infected with COVID-19 since May 11 have been released from isolation. Chen said an
BREAKING RECORDS: Kuo Hsing-chun’s snatch, clean and jerk, and combined lifts were all Olympic records, although well off her combined world record Taiwanese weightlifter Kuo Hsing-chun (郭婞淳) yesterday completed her elusive quest for Olympic gold, clinching Taiwan’s first win at the Tokyo Games as she set Olympic records in the women’s under-59kg weight class. Kuo, who has not lost a major competition in her weight class since the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where she was hampered by injury and finished third, finally chased down the gold medal that had long remained just out of her grasp. The 27-year-old finished with a combined lift of 236kg — 103kg in the snatch and 133kg in the clean and jerk — 21kg more