Thunderbirds' first female pilot announced with new 2006 pi

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NewsBot

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Unread post16 Jun 2005, 18:52

This is a discussion topic for the F-16.net news article: "<a href="news_article1400.html" target="_top">Thunderbirds' first female pilot announced with new 2006 pilots</A>". You can read the <a href="index.php?name=PNphpBB2&file=viewtopic&t=3305.html" target="_top">full forum discussion</A> in the F-16.net forum.
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falcon-watcher

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Unread post16 Jun 2005, 18:52

It had to happen eventually...

A soon-to-be Thunderbird...and she's cute!

It appears Maj. Burns' position, after the replacement pilot (Maj. Chris Callaghan) for 2005 leaves will be the first female Thunderbird, Capt. Nicole Malachowski.

New:
  • Thunderbird No. 1, commander/leader: Lt. Col. Kevin Robbins, currently assigned to Air Force Weapons School, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.
  • Thunderbird No. 3, right wing position: Capt. Nicole Malachowski, currently assigned to the 494th Fighter Squadron, RAF Lakenheath, United Kingdom.
  • Thunderbird No. 6, opposing solo position: Capt. Ed Casey, currently assigned to the 56th Training Squadron, Luke Air Force Base, Ariz.
  • Thunderbird No. 8, advance pilot/narrator: Capt. Tad Clark, currently assigned to the 52nd Operations Support Squadron, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.
Returning members:
  • Thunderbird No. 2, left wing: Maj. Rusty Keen
  • Thunderbird No. 4, slot: Maj. Steve Horton
  • Thunderbird No. 5, lead solo: Maj. Brian Farrar
  • Thunderbird No. 7, Operations Officer: Maj. Jeremy Sloane
  • Thunderbird No. 10, Executive Officer: Capt. Todd Randolph
  • Thunderbird No. 12, Public Affairs Officer: Capt. Angela Johnson
The team is also in the process of interviewing a new Thunderbird No. 9, the Flight Surgeon and a new Thunderbird No. 11, the Maintenance Officer.
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TenguNoHi

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Unread post16 Jun 2005, 21:56

Out of curiosity, why select a new member for the number 1 slot? It seems like the number 1 slot should goto an experienced member who knows the routines...

-Aaron
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Unread post16 Jun 2005, 22:46

Sierra Hotel! I remember seeing her come through Tyndall one time to shoot on the range. She turned a few heads...including mine. :wink:

Glad to hear this has finally happened, and I'm especially glad for her. Great feather in her cap.

Now if the Blues will get off of their duffs, right? :D

Oh yeah, and the new leader is trained by the outgoing C/C. He'll fly with the outgoing C/C to learn the ropes. He'll be up to speed by the time Winter practice begins.

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!
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LinkF16SimDude

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Unread post16 Jun 2005, 23:40

What TC said. Yowza!!

Seems like I remember one incoming T-bird CC not too long ago that wasn't even qual'd in the Viper when he got selected! He came outta Eagles, IIRC. He had to go thru the whole conversion course at Luke before taking over the team.
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viperman26

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Unread post16 Jun 2005, 23:43

Appears to be an Eagle driver if she's over at Lakenheath. Is the transition realitively easy going from the 15 to the 16?

I taped a documentry of the tbirds season off of discovery a couple years back, and the new C/C was a former eagle driver and he said something like "Its like driving a new sports car, you reach for the windshield wipers and you turn on the headlights" (Thats in regards to the transition from the the 15 to the viper and thats not a direct quote but something along those lines.) Sorry i can't remember his name, but i think he was from the 2002 or the 2003 team.
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Unread post17 Jun 2005, 04:57

Appears to be an Eagle driver if she's over at Lakenheath.


The article says she's from the 494th - an F-15E squadron.
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Unread post17 Jun 2005, 06:30

She does, indeed, fly the Strike Eagle. Malachowski recently served four months in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Las Vegas, Nevada, native is a 1996 graduate of the Air Force Academy.
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f16cctul

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Unread post17 Jun 2005, 11:03

She will affect the attendance level, as if it needed improvement. I hope to get my daughters out to see and meet her. People will be curious, no doubt about it. The PC crowd won't like all the reasons why, either. How do you get the #3 crew chief's job?
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Unread post17 Jun 2005, 13:11

I've heard the hardest part of the transition will be flying the precise wingwork with a sidestick after all those years with a center stick. That said, once the intial shock is over, a sidestick is much easier. The downside is you can't fly with either hand like you can in the Eagle.
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Unread post17 Jun 2005, 13:39

TenguNoHi wrote:Out of curiosity, why select a new member for the number 1 slot? It seems like the number 1 slot should goto an experienced member who knows the routines...

-Aaron


Nope the Number One (Boss) position gets lead in like all the others.

BTW: "WOW!" First Lady to fly the T-Birds and right into the Boss Slot. Way to go girl!!!!
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Unread post17 Jun 2005, 14:41

Here's a nice, inspiring article for the younger girls visiting this site:

<b>Female Thunderbird: First in Flight</b>

A determined local woman who had dreamed of being a fighter pilot since she was a child made history Thursday when the U.S. Air Force announced that she would be the first female pilot to join the elite Thunderbirds demonstration squadron.

Capt. Nicole Malachowski, 30, a 1992 Western High School graduate, will join the unit at Nellis Air Force Base for training in November, Air Force officials said. She'll make her public debut in March.

"I have got chills going up and down my spine right now," said her mother, Cathy Ellingwood, when told the news Thursday afternoon.

Malachowski, who recently finished a four-month stint flying missions in Operation Iraqi Freedom, was on leave Thursday and unavailable for comment. Her parents said she was relaxing on a cruise in Russia with her husband, Air Force Maj. Paul Malachowski.

The Thunderbirds, an aerial demonstration team that first flew in 1953, performs in front of millions of people across the country every year. From March through November, the group is on the road more than 200 days. Its pilots are considered among the best in the world.

A similar U.S. Navy unit, the Blue Angels, has never had a female pilot.

That Malachowski made it onto the Thunderbirds wasn't that surprising to her parents.

"She's always been motivated," said her father, Robert Ellingwood. "When she makes up her mind, that's just it."

He offered several examples from her childhood in Santa Maria, Calif.

When she was just 8 years old, her 10-year-old brother, Josh, was a competitive runner who'd entered a 5K race. On the day of the race, Nicole announced that she, too, would race.

"I'm running," she said. "I can do it."

And she finished the race.

"It took her quite a while," her dad said, "but she did it."

A couple of years later, during career day in the sixth grade, all the students in her class had to announce what they wanted to be when they grew up.

"I'm gonna be a fighter pilot," Nicole told her class.

That's nice, said the teacher, a macho guy who liked to lift weights, but girls can't be fighter pilots.

She ignored that man, her dad said, and declared: "He can never say that to me."

As a young girl, when all her friends had posters of cute boys on their walls, Nicole had a poster featuring the cockpit of an airplane on the ceiling above her bed.

She'd lie awake at night studying the dials and switches. She soon decided that she would one day fly an F-15E Strike Eagle in the Air Force. At that time, women were not allowed to fly fighter planes.

That changed in 1993, the year after she graduated from high school. Female fighter pilots still are relatively rare, but they fly missions every day around the world. The Air Force has 568 female pilots, 71 of them flying fighter jets.

When Malachowski joins the Thunderbirds, she will have to train in the F-16 Falcon, the unit's plane of choice.

In high school, Nicole was a standout in the ROTC, her parents said. She became the highest ranked cadet in the nation, they said.

She took flight lessons at the North Las Vegas Airport and got her pilot's license before she graduated.

She started getting her application ready for the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., more than a year before she was allowed to submit it.

She had a problem later, when it came time to apply to be a fighter pilot. The Air Force's requirements state that fighter pilots must be at least 5 feet 4 inches tall. Nicole would be cutting it close.

She's 5 feet 4 1/4 inches tall on a good day.

So, just to be sure she'd make it, she got one of those devices that allows you to hang upside down from a door frame, and hung there for three nights in a row before her measurements were taken, hoping it might stretch her frame just a bit.

During training, she lasted the longest of anyone in the class in the machine that tests how much G-force a person can withstand. She didn't lose consciousness until she passed 9 Gs.

Her parents were quick to point out that Nicole is not just a tough girl.

She was runner-up for homecoming queen in high school, they said. And she's so pretty that, when she and her mom have a chance now and then to go out when Nicole is in town for Red Flag exercises at Nellis, men constantly approach Nicole.

When they do, her mom said, she makes them try to guess what she does for a living.

"I'll give you five guesses," she'll say. "If you don't get it right, you have to buy us both drinks."

"We could drink all night for free if we wanted to," her mom said.

Malachowski graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1996, fourth in her class, with a degree in business. She's studying for her master's degree in business administration now, her parents said.

Malachowski, whose call sign is "Fifi," is stationed at RAF Lakenheath in England.

The Ellingwoods said their daughter would be embarrassed by all the praise they heaped upon her during an interview Thursday. But, they said, it is well-deserved.

Source: http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/ ... 37697.html
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Unread post17 Jun 2005, 17:52

I told my wife and daughter about this and they were pretty excited. I think it is pretty cool. My daughter said she hopes to see her fly next year and meet her.

Joel
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Unread post18 Jun 2005, 01:44

maddog2840 wrote:
TenguNoHi wrote:Out of curiosity, why select a new member for the number 1 slot? It seems like the number 1 slot should goto an experienced member who knows the routines...

-Aaron


Nope the Number One (Boss) position gets lead in like all the others.

BTW: "WOW!" First Lady to fly the T-Birds and right into the Boss Slot. Way to go girl!!!!


Nope, she's going to be #3, not #1. Helluva accomplishment though
Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark. A large group of professionals built the Titanic.
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Tankrat

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Unread post20 Jun 2005, 19:38

LinkF-16SimDude wrote:What TC said. Yowza!!

Seems like I remember one incoming T-bird CC not too long ago that wasn't even qual'd in the Viper when he got selected! He came outta Eagles, IIRC. He had to go thru the whole conversion course at Luke before taking over the team.



You dont have to be qualified on the 16 to be selected, just fighter qualified.
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