Extra! Thunderbird Pilot Maj. Nicole Malachowski Talks to IFR Refresher About the Qualities That Make a Good IFR Pilot

File Size 14.6 MB / Running Time 16:02


For this month’s IFR Refresher podcast, editor Meredith Saini spoke with Major Nicole Malachowski of the U.S. Air Force about the qualities a good IFR safety pilot should possess. Meredith caught up with her at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., where Major Malachowski recently gave a presentation on her career and what it was like to fly with the U.S. Thunderbirds demonstration team.

Major Malachowski’s fascination with airplanes began when she was a little girl. She graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1996 and for the next 10 years served as an F-15E Strike Eagle instructor pilot and flight commander, including a tour in Iraq. In 2006, she became the first female Thunderbird pilot, flying the F-16 Fighting Falcon. This spring, she and her husband are relocating from Las Vegas to Washington, where she will serve as an Air Force legislative fellow on a one-year special duty assignment. She says she hopes to return to flying one day.


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