First woman to command an IAF flight school squadron

The first woman squadron commander in the IAF's prestigious Flight School entered her new role on Wednesday, marking yet another broken glass ceiling for women pilots.

 Major Y' prepares to take off with a pilot from her squadron, the 106th Squadron. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
Major Y' prepares to take off with a pilot from her squadron, the 106th Squadron.
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

Major Y' (her name is withheld due to security reasons) became the first woman to serve as squadron commander in the prestigious Israel Air Force Flight School, the IDF Spokesperson's Unit announced on Thursday.

Y' was drafted in 2010 into the IAF's 165th pilot's course and finished it as a fighter jet navigator. Later on in her service, she served in a number of operational positions, including being the first woman navigator to serve as deputy commander of a combat squadron.

In her new role Y' will head a squadron of fighter jet navigator cadets who are in an advanced stage of their training, thus becoming the first woman to take on the role in the Flight School.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi has stated that he plans to see the number of female senior officers rise by 50% within the next five years, especially in technology and cyber roles.

Boston-native Lt. O is the first US woman to graduate from the IAF's pilot's course. (credit: IAF)Boston-native Lt. O is the first US woman to graduate from the IAF's pilot's course. (credit: IAF)

Nevertheless, the number of women promoted to top positions has fallen dramatically in recent years, with only 19 women being promoted to the rank of colonel out of 200, according to a February report by Haaretz. There are only six women holding the rank of brigadier-general and only one who is a major-general.

The 182nd class of pilots that graduated in June included 39 graduates, of which four were women, one of whom became the first female fighter jet pilot to graduate from the academy in over four years, and became the fifth currently active in the IAF.

Although women served as pilots before Israel gained independence and during its first decade, they were not given full equal opportunities until 1994.