Maj. Rachael Winiecki, 461st Flight Test Squadron developmental test pilot, completed the first flight mission led by a female say the US Air Force in a release.

“I may be the first female developmental test pilot (in the F-35), but (test pilots) are just one small part of the test enterprise,” Winiecki said in the release.

She said although aviation tends to be a male dominated field, the number of women in flight test is increasing. Winiecki said that there are several female test directors, test conductors, discipline engineers and flight test engineers at the 461st FLTS, in addition to those serving in engineering, maintenance and support functions.

Namely, she spoke about her crew chief for the mission, Airman 1st Class Heather Rice, of the 412th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

“It was great having Airman Rice there,” Winiecki said. “I am very proud of the work she does on the line, and I’m glad that she is part of our team.”

According to Lt. Col. Tucker Hamilton, 461st FLTS commander, Winiecki’s experience with the A-10 was one of the factors to her being selected as an F-35 test pilot.

“Major Winiecki was selected to become an F-35 test pilot based on her exceptional flying ability and the important voice she brings to the F-35 development as a prior A-10 pilot,” Hamilton said.

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Cam Hunter

Why is it always a huge deal with balloons and cake when a female does something a man does routinely!….

Geoffrey Roach

Equal rights for men, I say!

The answer to your question is in it…because its something mainly men routinely do. F-35 first test flight December 2006, and whilst I’m sure female pilots have been flying the jets, after 12 years seems article worthy that a female pilot has led a flight mission.

As for equal rights for men please do elaborate on which ways you feel behind on your rights Geoffrey?

Geoffrey Roach

There are times when I should not try be light hearted I know but I thought on UKDJ. But I still get picked up. Never mind. If you really need a serious answer Robert it is this. I have believed in equality for all from the days of my youth, some while ago now. However I am increasingly sick and tired of ‘isms and political correctness and I can’t help but think that it’s having a negative effect. See my other later comment. Now , on a different note does your handle Robert1 suggest that there are other Robert’s secondary… Read more »

On the Robert1 I have to blame clumsy fingers, and having only noticed after posting it was too late to retract, any semblance of egotistic self elevation purely a subconscious slip. In terms of the ‘isms. I’d have to agree on it having a negative effect, but think I fall on the other side of the why it’s having a negative effect but on the other side of the argument to you. Having attended UK university in last 5 years, I accept and saw individuals whose efforts to promote their group began to infringe on others or just infringe in… Read more »

So many errors and missing words in my comment apologies…long time lurker and new commenter…already time to add my voice to the “Edit function please” :’)


Least we forget the fate of Turing.

Geoffrey Roach

Hi Robert. I was going to try to explain to you how I felt but instead I’ll refer you to Michael’s blog below which I think says it all. My Mother had a saying..”they’re their own worst enemies”. Hundreds of pressure groups are destroying their own arguments because their audience is listening anymore.

Geoffrey Roach

Sorry…Malcolm’s blog. What were you saying about editing?

Geoffrey Roach

Robert… Should read isn’t listening…..
I think I need a nap.


Because equality isn’t equal really is it… Modern day equality is pushing the agenda of the few in favour of the many. A significant reason why this country is on its arse if you ask me! Heard of a case recently where a male employee was disciplined at work for holding a door open for a woman who to offence at this, as she is more than capable of holding her own door open… Apparently manners are now gender biased. Put me on the first rocket to Mars. On a separate note… nice to see the Directing Staff on Channel… Read more »

I would like to see the day when people are judged on the content of their character (MLK) and of course their merits – instead of this hyper-exaggerated focus on appearance, gender, sexual orientation and skin colour. All this separating, segregating, highlighting DIFFERENCES of races and genders is not healthy – we are all one people. Just agree – we are all equal and be done with it – and treat everyone the same. Evaluate everyone the same. No exceptions, special treatments and no special classes.

Geoffrey Roach

Well said . Couldn’t have put it better.

Brilliant news! Should have happened years ago, no excuses.

How about: pilot does her job, happens to be a woman but, honestly, who cares



Why is this a story ?

Geoffrey Roach

Because if the media did away with feminism, racism, ageism, and probably scrapped their celebrity diet pages they would have nothing “important” to write about. What we need is for all the ‘isms to come together as one item…equality.



Steven wrote:
“Why is this a story ?”

For the same reason the media thinks the story below is valid:

Evan P

I knew there was going to be a mob in the comments that was offended about this. If you don’t care, why did you click on the article and take some time out of your day to write a rant about it? Silly people.

captain P Wash.

Fair point but, Why did You ? Just saying.

Evan P

Because I don’t pretend to not care about the story.

captain P Wash.

Oh, That explains it then. Personally, until you posted, I was happy to read It and move on without feeling like I had to call anyone a silly person for taking the time commentating. As far as I know, This Site Is here so that People can Comment and Discuss any Thread that Is Posted, without too many rules. Or fear of being called Silly.

Well said!

Evan P

Well that’s somewhere where we differ. I consider it important to point out double standards or general unreasonableness so that people might think before posting unsavoury comments (yes I know this is turning into one) without fear of being pulled up on it. A futile effort I know, but there we are. By the way, my “silly people” remark was supposed to be quite harmless, I highly doubt anyone fears being called silly.

Jonathan (silly bugger)

Ohh I don’t mind being called silly….I suppose because of often am….people calling me stupid on the other hand that one really piss3s me off.

Muhammad Ali

Let’s hope she isn’t as bad as driving that jet as women are bad at driving.

Glass Half Full

I don’t see why people get so bent out of shape about PR like this. Its not celebrating that a women is in this position, it is simply demonstrating and reinforcing that women are more than capable of operating and advancing in roles that many to this day still do not associate with women. Her comments about women in other roles reinforces this. Clearly bias against this fact exists as long as women get paid less than men in society for doing the same job with the same or better ability, or are excluded or marginalized in such roles. Its… Read more »

captain P Wash.


The problem is that it reinforces a largely liberal anti-male narrative that women are essentially victims, belong in a celebrated, pitied and rewarded victim class, and that (all) men perpetuate the equality problem. Give me one example in modern times (please do not go back to Emily Pankhurst days) in the last 5 years say, where women were prevented from doing the same job a man does. I can’t think of one. Please do not give us individual acts of sexism; sexism will never be stamped out and getting those examples is child’s play. Give me a systematic example, policy,… Read more »

Glass Half Full

No, it really doesn’t reinforce a largely liberal …. etc etc. With respect that seems to be you superimposing your own belief system. You seem to be either throwing me a softball … or deliberately setting me up for something … but I’ll respond with British women being banned from close combat roles, up until that ban was lifted in mid-2016. But your 5 years is an arbitrary time-frame and extremely short in the context of the time it takes to change perceptions and that is what PR such as that which led to this article are about; changing perceptions.… Read more »


Well, there is a certain level of scientific backing for that opinion. It falls under the line of “Survival of the Species.” Of the two sexes, Males are more expendable. Females, on the other hand, are much less so. Has to do with having sufficient diversity in the gene-pool to allow for a healthy base for growth or recovery.

Evan P

Good answer GHF, I hope more people on this site read and have a think about it.


What glass half said, it’s not just about now it’s about at least a generation of culture and experience, groups that have suffered inequality don’t just leap from lacking in power to having equal power, it takes a lot of time and energy to embed. Problem is those in the group that have not experienced a lack of power can’t really get what that means. Unless they try it usually ends in tears and bloodshed one way or another.


Yup. Articles like this are as much about the future than the present. Society has a way of conditioning people from birth and part of that conditioning can be that certain roles are only for certain genders, ethnicities etc. I think that’s particularly true for gender actually. In some cases there are valid reasons for a gender-predominance in a particular career but in the case of test pilots I can see no such reason. By publicising this achievement by Maj. Winiecki (and it will have been an achievement given the scepticism and in some cases possibly outright hostility that she… Read more »

GHF I’ll give you the softball on the UK combat roles AKA “the right to die for your country.” I think it is fair that women do their share of their fighting and dying for the defence of the country and in all other dangerous roles – SAS, SBS, Fire fighters etc. It should be fully normalized and I’d argue it largely already is. Especially in the States. And I agree, the five years window was as you said, arbitrary. But I can’t think of anything restrictive today? I also get your point on perceptions and beliefs, but when is… Read more »

Glass Half Full

Malcolm, we seem to be talking from two different perspectives. You seem to feel that provided there is no institutional discrimination then ipso facto there is no discrimination, which seems to be a particularly rosy view of the world. The PR is not likely to change the views of those determined to be discriminatory. It may change the views of those inadvertently discriminatory based on false perceptions. Hence, I and others are pointing out that perceptions are what still need to be countered. For example a young girl might dream of growing up to be a jet pilot, while her… Read more »


I’m a great believer in free speech and the right to offend, some of you lot offend me all the time ( in a constructive not my own world view way) and I try hard to give a bit back, this is an important part of not becoming extreme and inflexible of thought ( if you only hear your world view reflected back it embeds it more and more). But when I feel isms are getting me down I remember this, Alan Mathesion Turing OBE, did more for this country in its darkest hour than almost any other single individual… Read more »

Re caption photo, are there any rules about overweight service personnel. Serious question!