- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 7, 2015

Lt. Col. Christine Mau, deputy commander of the 33rd Fighter Wing Operations, is the U.S. Air Force’s first female F-35 Joint Strike Fighter pilot.

The officer took her first flight on Tuesday after 14 virtual training missions in a simulator, The Hill reported Wednesday.

“It wasn’t until I was taxiing to the runway that it really struck me that I was on my own in the jet. … Flying is a great equalizer. The plane doesn’t know or care about your gender as a pilot, nor do the ground troops who need your support. You just have to perform,” Col. Mau said, The Hill reported.

The Air Force has now trained 88 pilots to fly the new aircraft over the last four years.

“It felt great to get airborne. The jet flies like a dream, and seeing the systems interact is impressive. Flying with the Helmet Mounted Display takes some adjusting, but it’s an easy adjustment,” Col. Mau said, the newspaper reported.

The officer was previously designated an F-15E Strike Eagle pilot.

SEE ALSO: Blue Angels history: First female pilot joins famous team

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