Air Force Chief Maj.-Gen. Eliezer Shkedy
Photo: Niv Calderon
IAF cadets (Archive photo)
Photo: Tsafrir Abayov
IAF seeks to double number of female pilots
Army figures show only five percent of Air Force cadets are female, only four percent of those successfully complete training to become pilots

Air Force Chief Maj.-Gen. Eliezer Shkedy has ordered the army's human resources branch to double the number of female cadets at the Air Force academy, Yedioth Ahronoth has learnt.


Shkedy also ordered the selection criteria for female cadets be changed and made similar to criteria applying to male cadets, arguing that tougher requirements are the cause of the high number of dropout among female candidates.


Air Force data show that only 5 percent of cadets who embark on the tough training course are females, only 4 percent of whom become pilots. The success rate among males is over 20 percent.


Since the Air Force opened its doors to female cadets in 1996 only thirteen females became pilots. Among last year's graduates only one female cadet graduated successfully as an Air Force crew but there were no female pilots.


The differing figures for male and female cadets have been blamed on a number of defaults in the recruitment process.


Females sought 

The army said that unlike male recruits, females who meet the criteria that open the door for them to embark on Air Force courses are not sought after to pursue a career in the Air Force and many choose not to.


In addition, and also unlike male cadets, female recruits who meet Air Force criteria are not subjected to a series of selective interviews by Air Force personnel.


"Today we are capable of bring in the intelligent and not the suitable to the course," official at the Hatzerim Air Force base said.


"If we had known that we had the right girls, figures would have been dramatically different," the official added.


The official went on to say that all females who meet the entrance criteria for Air Force courses would have the same chance as males to be picked up.


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