Tamara’s pilot dream takes flight

Tamara Mertens wants to be the first female fighter pilot.Picture: Andrew Ritchie           d441613
Tamara Mertens wants to be the first female fighter pilot.Picture: Andrew Ritchie         d441613

The 16-year-old wants to be Australia�s first female fighter pilot.

She joined the Australian Air Force cadets when she was 13 and recently took her first solo flight at RAAF Base Pearce in a Cessna 152.

�It was the best experience of my life, 18 minutes up in the air, all on my own,� the Year 11 Perth Modern School student said.

�On take-off my heart is racing a million miles an hour; it�s better than being on a rollercoaster but once you are high in the air it is just really peaceful.

�It is totally exhilarating, especially when you go full throttle as you are about to take-off or take part in aeronautics.�

Tamara is studying hard to achieve the marks needed to get into the Australian Defence Force Academy, where she will undertake a degree and fighter pilot training.

�I think it�s great that girls can now aspire to be fighter pilots,� she said.

�It would be great to have more women as pilots � why can�t women do the same as men?

�We are more than capable and with training can learn all the skills required.�

Perth Modern School principal Lois Joll said Tamara had all the attributes to make an outstanding fighter pilot in the Australian Air Force.