Women Make Better Fighter Pilots

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Indian air force commanders say a woman's place is in the cockpit of a fighter jet but the delicate nature of cultural and social traditions in the country is keeping them from yankin' and bankin' with the men. "We have not been asked and the government's policy is that only men can qualify to fly fighter aircraft. But if you are asking if the women are capable, the answer is yes," Air Marshal B.N. Gokhale told the Calcutta Telegraph. More than capable, women consistently test better than men in training exercises. "I would recommend that women are put into fighter cockpits on the basis of performance," said Group Captain Chetan Bali, who heads up the faculty of flying at India's Air Force Academy. And lest there are those who believe that Western culture is far ahead when it comes to offering up our young women for combat duty, it's worth noting that the first U.S. female fighter pilot to unload an F/A-18's worth of missiles and laser-guided bombs in combat didn't do so until 2002 in the first wave of attacks against Iraq. Also, the first female pilot joined the Thunderbirds air demonstration team last fall and will perform with the team in the current air show season.