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Three Female Pilots Join Israel's Air Force

Three female pilots, including one combat pilot, will complete training and join the nine other female soldiers in Israel's Air Force. Only the second combat pilot in Israel's history, First Lieutenant N. from Ramat Hasharon (whose real name is not given due to security reasons) was described as excelling through her pilot training courses and showing impressive skills throughout her training. Israel's first female combat pilot was First Lieutenant Ronny, who now serves as an instructor at the military pilot school at the Air Force’s Hatzerim base. Lieutenant N. will be joined by First Lieutenant A. from Herzliya and First Lieutenant G. from Tel Aviv, who will serve as a transport pilot.

In addition to combat and transport pilots, the IAF has female navigators, combat helicopter pilots and Saar helicopter pilots. Advanced Air Force training courses last three years and require soldiers to give an additional nine years of IDF service. Air Force officials said that the three female pilots integrated well into their squadrons.

The three females about to complete the current course missed more than a month of studies because they participated in the implementation of the disengagement plan in August. Although these three females have nearly completed IAF training, there is still exists a lack of women completing the courses. Success rates for females are lower than their male counterparts, and a lower percentage of women are interested in taking the courses than men. No woman completed the training course which ended in the summer of 2005. The Air Force plans on launching a new program in order to draw more females to the pilot course by contacting them while they are still in high school.