London, March 24 (DPA) A female pilot in Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF) has become the first woman to fly a Typhoon fighter aircraft on a combat mission during the current enforcement of a no-fly zone over Libya, British media reports said Thursday.
Flight-Lieutenant Helen Seymour, 31, took to the skies from Gioia del Colle airbase in southern Italy Wednesday, where the RAF fighters are stationed.
She was all smiles after her return from the seven-hour mission, flown with two other Typhoons and two Tornado aircraft, the Daily Telegraph reported.
The Typhoon, also known as the Eurofighter, is a sophisticated supersonic jet built jointly by a number of European countries. It is designed specifically for use in mid-air dogfights and carries missiles for use in air-to-air combat.
British female pilots have flown in combat before, including in Harrier and Tornado GR4 aircraft, over Afghanistan. The RAF first started using female pilots in the mid 1980s.
Air Commodore Andrew Lambert, who commanded a female pilot over Iraq in 1999, was full of praise for women pilots who he said were usually “extremely professional”.
“They impressed by the fact they could do the job par excellence. You are judged as a pilot by what you can do in the air, not the tone of your voice,” he told the Telegraph.