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Second female fighter jet pilot qualifies for the F-5E

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Republic of China Air Force yesterday qualified its second female pilot for the F-5E fighter jet, and is planning to train her to become the first female member of the Thunder Tiger Aerobatics Team (雷虎特技飛行小組).

Although she originally wished to be on active duty in the Air Force's Tainan Wing, Hsieh Yun-ting (謝蕓梃) was later assigned to the R.O.C. Air Force Academy for training in order to become a Thunder Tiger member.

Hsieh is the second female pilot to be qualified as an Air Force pilot after Chen Chun-yi (陳君宜).

The newly qualified pilot revealed that her current boyfriend is serving in the military as well, the two had met in military school and both finished their basic flying training without mishap. “He is now serving in the navy and being trained in the air freight unit, while I chose to be trained for combat ... but despite the training differences, we still share many common interests and often talk to each other in navigation terms,” said Hsieh.

Hsieh had been dispatched to Taitung's Wing 737 for fighter training after completing her basic combat training at the Air Force Academy last year. She passed her examinations smoothly and word of her new position was announced on the academy's public social media page on August 14, National Air Force Day.

Hsieh was first expecting to be flying an Indigenous Defense Fighter, but Air Force sources reported that she was later assigned to fly an AT-3 trainer jet.

During an interview with local media outlets, Hsieh stated that she has dreamed of flying since she was very young, and finally decided to challenge herself before graduating from college. “I signed up for flying courses at the Air Force Academy; a path that is decidedly different from ones chosen by most girls my age,” said Hsieh.

The training was tough, but at the same time full of laughter and things to enjoy, Hsieh recalled. “I joined the military a little over two years ago, and passed my basic training, the mountain, sea and survival training courses and also my T-34C flying training and now the F-5E examinations ... it was grueling at the academy and the Air Force bases, but I am grateful for the support of my family, classmates and my boyfriend,” said Hsieh, who added that she hoped she would be able to become a Thunder Tiger member in the future.

“Although I will not be able to meet up with my boyfriend very often as he is in Taipei while I will be in Taitung, we are still passionate about flying and support each other's interests. I am sure we are capable of taking on all challenges in the future,” said Hsieh.

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Hsieh Yun-ting (謝蕓梃), the newest female pilot qualified to fly fighter jets by the R.O.C. Air Force, poses for a photo while in uniform, yesterday. (CNA)

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