Argentina Welcomes First Female Fighter Pilot

Argentina Welcomes First Female Fighter Pilot

By Eduardo Szklarz/Diálogo
June 18, 2020

At age 26, First Lieutenant Sofía María Vier, became the Argentine Air Force’s (FAA, in Spanish) first female fighter pilot. Her inaugural solo flight — without an instructor — took place on May 27 at the airfield of the 4th Air Brigade, in Mendoza province.

“This is a culturally significant event for the Argentine Armed Forces. It shows that women can fill any role in the forces,” Argentinian Defense Minister Agustín Rossi said during a ceremony. According to Rossi, 1st. Lt. Vier’s debut flight will encourage female participation in the military.

First Lieutenant Sofía María Vier (center), after her inaugural flight as the Argentine Air Force’s first female fighter pilot, on May 27, 2020, in Mendoza. (Photo: Argentine Ministry of Defense)

A select group

Throughout its history, FAA has trained female pilots, but always with specializations in helicopters or air transport. First Lieutenant Vier is the first woman to graduate from the Procedures Standardization Course for Fighter Pilots at El Plumerillo 4th Air Brigade, the birthplace of Argentine fighter aviation.

“One of the most demanding positions in the Air Force of any country is that of fighter pilot,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement. “Only a few pilots get to sit in the cabin of a fighter jet. From now on, 1st Lt. Vier is part of that select group of aviators.”

First Lieutenant Vier did her fighter training in the IA-63 Pampa II, an advanced aircraft trainer manufactured by state-owned Fábrica Argentina de Aviones Brigadier San Martín.

Course in the United States

The daughter and granddaughter of pilots, 1st Lt. Vier entered the Military Aviation School in 2013 and graduated at the top of her class with the highest score in defense aerospace resource management and glider.

In 2017, after completing the Joint Basic Military Pilot Course, she was selected to take the military pilot course in the United States, due to her seniority, level of English, and flight skills. She passed aircraft operation tests in English at Lackland Air Force Base, in Texas. Later, she took the Air Force Initial Flight Training program with DA20 aircraft in Colorado. Her training continued at Columbus Air Force Base, in Mississippi, where she flew T-6 Texan aircraft.

“First Lieutenant Vier graduated among the top five in her class, for which she received recognition from U.S. Ambassador [Edward C. Prado] in Argentina,” the Ministry of Defense said.