First Female PAF pilot to be chosen (Zamboangueña pilot selected for US Aviation Leadership program)
First Female PAF pilot to be chosen (Zamboangueña pilot selected for US Aviation Leadership program) PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 14 February 2018 16:54

2nd Lt. Catherine Gonzales, A Philippine Air Force pilot became the first female aviator from the armed forces to be selected for the Aviation Leadership program (ALP), a United States Air Force scholarship program which provides undergraduate pilot training to select officers from other nations’ air forces.

Gonzales’ inspiration to become a pilot stemmed from witnessing the important role aviation assets played during the 2013 Zamboanga siege, which took place in her hometown of Zamboanga city.

“Since then, I started to dream of becoming a pilot,” Gonzales said.

“During those times, I really felt a great eagerness to defend my hometown, and I thought I could be of great help to that mission from above, since insurgents are vulnerable from this point,”  she added.

Gonzales, who was among the top ten members of her graduating class at the Philippine MIlitary Academy, will attend the program from February 2018 to May 2019.

During the program, she will receive 164 hours of flight training in the T-6A Texan II aircraft, as well as 239 hours of flight operations ground training.

Gonzales says she is excited to learn how to fly a new aircraft, as well as to experience American culture.

“Serving my country as a female officer shows how the mllitary profession has matured and opened for great changes by allowing us, female officers, to lead.”

The ALP is designed to build relationships between future leaders of the United States Air Force and other participating air forces, as well as increase overall cooperation and partnership between countries.  (US Embassy)