Female F-15 fighter pilot holds her own

Major Nah says one thing she enjoys about flying is seeing the night view of Singapore as she returns to base after a mission.
Major Nah says one thing she enjoys about flying is seeing the night view of Singapore as she returns to base after a mission.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

ROCKHAMPTON (Australia) • Major Nah Jinping, 29, powers a fighter aircraft that can unleash bombs. She is the only female operational F-15 fighter pilot in the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF), which means she can be activated to take part in military combat or operations.

For another fighter jet model, the F-16, the RSAF has only two female operational pilots.

Major Nah, who holds a master's degree in learning technologies from the University of Michigan, said she wanted to become a lawyer initially, but took up an SAF Scholarship as it would train her mind, and she did not want a desk-bound job.

Asked what her experience has been like working alongside male peers, Major Nah, who is single, said the physical difference is quite stark.

"I am physically more petite than them, so I think in terms of the missions that require more manoeuvring and higher G-forces, it takes a toll on my body. I feel like I get tired more easily, and I pant faster," she said.

 

However, in terms of professional knowledge and flying skills, there are no differences between the sexes, said the pilot from 149 Squadron.

One thing she enjoys about flying is seeing the night view of Singapore when she flies back to base after a mission. She said: "You see the lights in Singapore, and it is super peaceful and quiet. I actually enjoy that a lot."

She added: "Fighter flying is actually very dynamic, and there are a lot of things happening, so most of the time there is no chance to just sit back and enjoy the environment."

Jeremy Koh

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 01, 2016, with the headline 'Female F-15 fighter pilot holds her own'. Print Edition | Subscribe