Three new female pilots, including one combat pilot, are expected to complete the Israel Air Force's pilot course next week, Israel's leading newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported.
The three females will join nine other female IAF soldiers who have already reached the finish line of the course.
First Lieutenant N. from Ramat Hasharon, whose full name cannot be disclosed because of security considerations, will be the second female combat pilot in the Israel Defense Forces. The first female combat pilot was First Lieutenant Ronny, who now serves as an instructor at the military pilot school at the Air Force’s Hatzerim base.
The commanders of First Lieutenant N. said that she is an exceptional pilot who displayed impressive skills throughout the course. She will be joined by First Lieutenant A. from Herzliya and First Lieutenant G. from Tel Aviv, who will serve as a transport pilot.
Once the current pilot course ends, 12 females will have completed the course. Apart from female combat pilots, the Air Force also has female navigators, transport pilots, combat helicopter pilots and Saar helicopter pilots.
Air Force sources said "the female pilots managed to integrate well into their squadrons, and one of them has already been discharged and is serving in reserve duty as a pilot."
The three new pilots belong to the second course, which was held in the new academic format established by the Air Force. The course lasts for three years and requires the soldiers to commit to an extended army service of nine years.
Not enough females
A study conducted recently among pilot course graduates revealed that despite the new format there has been no drop in the cadets' motivation.
The cadets in the current course were forced to miss more than a month of studies because they took part in the disengagement.
Colonel Ido, commander of the pilot school, said that the cadets were forced to fly less than in previous courses and worked hard in order to complete the missing flights in the past few months.
"They returned to the course very quickly, and we consider it to be a completely normal course," he said.
In the meantime, despite the achievement of the three new female pilots, the situation of women in the Air Force is still unsatisfactory. Notably, no female pilot has reached the finish line in the last pilot course, which ended in the summer.
According to IAF data, female success rates are lower compared to male pilots, and the number of females who take an interest in the course is lower compared to the number of males.
The Air Force plans on launching a new program in order to draw more females to the pilot course by contacting them while they are still in high school.