For the first time in 52-years, the Air Force “Thunderbirds,” will have a female pilot. Capt. Nicole Malachowski, of the 494th Fighter Squadron at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, joins the 2006 Thunderbird team as the first female demonstration pilot on any U.S. military high performance jet team.
She’s a former runner-up homecoming queen who also lasted the longest in her Air Force Academy class in the G-force machine, passing 9 Gs. She’s wanted to be a fighter pilot since childhood even, and appears to take her good looks with a sense of humor as her call sign is “Fifi.” Young girls looking for a role model would do well to follow keep tabs on Capt. Malachowski’s career as a Thunderbird.
“It’s a great privilege to be given the opportunity to be a part of the Thunderbird team, an organization that represents the finest traditions of our Air Force. Women have been an integral part of the Thunderbird team for decades. The women of yesterday and today’s Air Force maintain a tradition of excellence, and it is that heritage that has given me this exciting responsibility of being the first female Thunderbird pilot,” the Las Vegas native said in a Air Force press release.
As CNN notes, just weeks after a high-profile debate about the role of women in the military, the Air Force is putting a woman in one of its most prestigious and high-profile jobs.