Fanny Chollet Becomes 1st Swiss Female Top Gun Pilot

This is stunning solider Fanny Chollet who has become Switzerland’s first ever female Top Gun fighter pilot.

The Swiss Air Force revealed she had qualified to fly F/A-18 twin-engine combat jets this week, which is an American fighter that was originally designed for the US Navy and which the Swiss purchased even though it is a landlocked country with no navy apart from a few boats on two of their lakes.

The 27-year-old is a first lieutenant of the Swiss Air Force and reportedly the first woman in the country to fly an F/A-18.

Credit: CEN
Fanny Chollet posing in front of a F/A-18 fighter jet

Nicknamed ‘Shotty’, Fanny is now the only female in the all-male Flying Squadron 18 stationed at Payerne Air Force Base in the Swiss Canton of Vaud.

The F/A 18 was initially designed with the navy in mind so that it could land and take off on aircraft carriers. Ironically, Switzerland does not have a navy.

Fortunately, the multirole jet can also operate from land-based airports.

According to reports, army bosses have hailed the pretty pilot for breaking the traditional masculine culture in the Air Force.

Since the beginning of this year, Fanny is licensed to fly the F/A-18 after she graduated from the Air Force Academy one year earlier.

Fanny Chollet posing in front of a F/A-18 fighter jet

Fanny said: “I was always treated the same as my colleagues during training. Today is the first day it feels different.

“I have always done the same things as my colleagues, but since obtaining my brevet there has been a lot of media attention.”

Her first public appearance as an F/A-18 pilot was met by a huge media circus in Switzerland with the nation’s media hailing Fanny as a role model for other women.

The daughter of a commercial airline pilot, Fanny knew since secondary school that she wanted to become an Air Force pilot.

She said: “I knew that it would be my job and that I would do anything to get it.”

Credit: CEN
Air Force Academy chief Markus Thoeni congratulating Fanny Chollet with her graduation and permit to fly a F/A-18

Fanny said she is proud to have become this far a member of Flying Squadron 18 in her native canton.

First lieutenant Chollet said that she is convinced there is no gender difference among military pilots. 

She said: “When men and women have the same capacities, they also have the same opportunities.”

Air Force commander Bernhard Mueller said he was delighted with his new pilot: “Fanny Chollet is like a shining light for us, because we have far too few women.

“It is important to have women in this traditionally masculine environment and it does a lot for us culturally.”

So far, the Swiss Air Force has trained 10 women, of which seven are still actively flying helicopters.

To find out more about the author, editor or agency that supplied this story – please click below.
Story By: Koen BerghuisSub-EditorJoseph Golder, Agency: Central European News

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