SPAIN’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has joined in paying respect to the first female fighter pilot to take to the skies for the Spanish Air Force.
Lieutenant Elena Gutierrez strapped herself in to her Eurofighter Typhoon for her maiden flight from the Moron de la Frontera air base on December 22.
Lieutenant Gutierrez’s flight was part of a ‘release’ ceremony for the 11 and 14 Wing cadets in which rookie pilots perform their first solo flight after five years of hard training.
According to the statement released by the Ministry of Defence, Lieutenant Gutierrez performed her first solo flight ‘perfectly’ and ‘without problems.’
The Ejercito del Aire has been pushing to make positive steps towards gender equality in the armed forces, with Lieutenant Gutierrez marking an important milestone in the history of Spain’s Military.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez took to Twitter to show his appreciation for Lieutenant Gutierrez.
“Overcoming barriers, breaking glass ceilings, moving towards complete equality between men and women,” said Sanchez in a tweet.
“Our society is taking another step on this path. Elena Gutierrez is the first woman to pilot an Air Force Eurofighter. Congratulations!”
Lieutenant Gutierrez’s journey to this historic moment has been a rigorous one, with five years of flight training needed at the Air Force’s facility in San Javier, Murcia.
First the pilot must complete three years basic military training, then graduate to performing in flight training in the Air Force’s Enaer T-34 Pillan and CASA C-101 aircraft.
If a good grade is obtained, trainee pilots are then moved to Talavera La Real Air Base (Badajoz) to practice in the higher powered Northrop F-5M single seat aircrafts.
Lieutenant Gutierrez will now continue her path in the Ejercito del Aire and join the 70 established Eurofighter pilots between Moron de la Frontera and Albacete.