Air force takes its first women pilot trainees

Air force takes its first women pilot trainees

Chonnisa Supawannapong (right) and Sireethorn Lawansatian (second from left), with commissioned officers Karnchanok Janyarak, Peerasri Jalpaisarn and Chanakarn Sornjarn. (Photo courtesy of the Royal Thai Air Force)
Chonnisa Supawannapong (right) and Sireethorn Lawansatian (second from left), with commissioned officers Karnchanok Janyarak, Peerasri Jalpaisarn and Chanakarn Sornjarn. (Photo courtesy of the Royal Thai Air Force)

Five women have broken new ground in the Royal Thai Air Force by being chosen to train as pilots, and they will report to air force chief ACM Tritos Sonchaeng on Monday for indoctrination before starting.

The five women comprise two civilians, Sireethorn Lawansatian and Chonnisa Supawannapong, and three air force commissioned officers Karnchanok Janyarak, Peerasri Jalpaisarn, who are both acting flying officers, and Pilot Officer Chanakarn Sornjarn. 

The RTAF last month named them as selected applicants of its testing and selection process to recruit female pilots for non-combat roles.    

The air force is looking at recruiting women to offset a decline in the number of trained pilots and male recruits who have resigned to work for private airlines which offer higher salaries.

The group will go through a one-year training course at Wing 6 air force headquarters in Don Muang, starting in September. After completing their training, they are expected to fly transport aircraft and helicopters at Wing 6 and also at Wing 2 in Lop Buri. 

Ms Sireethorn and Ms Chonnisa have obtained a commercial pilot licence.   

The civilians are required to undergo a one-month military training course so that they can seek royal endorsement to receive the rank of pilot officer before beginning their pilot training courses, according to air force officials. 

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