Record number of women in IAF pilot's course

Only 17 women have become air-women in past 14 years.

iaf pilots 298.88 idf (photo credit: IDF [file])
iaf pilots 298.88 idf
(photo credit: IDF [file])
Fourteen years after Alice Miller's petition to the High Court paved the way for women to enlist into the IDF's prestigious pilot's course, 26 women are currently in the beginning stages of the course - the largest number in Air Force history. The sharp increase in the number of female trainees is a direct result of a change made last year to the way the IAF enlists women into the course. Until last June, only women who volunteered for the three-year course were summoned for testing. This resulted in only 17 female soldiers becoming airwomen - that is, pilots, navigators or airborne engineers - since the IAF opened the course to women. The change in policy began last summer. The IAF started summoning all 17-year-old girls (one year before enlistment) who showed high scores on their pre-army tests to additional classification exams, ahead of potential participation in the pilot's course. In the past, a woman who wanted to serve as a pilot needed to specifically request to be summoned for examinations. Under the new system, the IAF and the IDF Human Resources Department review all female draftees and automatically summon those who appear suitable, like their male counterparts. A high-ranking IAF officer revealed Monday that a record number of 26 female soldiers were currently participating in the course. Statistically, the officer said there was a chance that at least four female trainees would complete the course, which on average begins with around 100 people. "We understood that 17 airwomen in over a decade are more of a gimmick than a real policy," the high-ranking officer said. "By changing the way we enlist the female soldiers, we are turning this policy into a reality." In addition to the record number of female participants, there are also three Druse soldiers in another parallel but more advanced course. There is also currently one Druse navigator, who flew in the lead aircraft during the IAF aerobatic flyover on Independence Day earlier this month.