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Female military pilots see the next barrier to break: Getting more Black women to fly

The women who were the first to break gender and race barriers as military pilots understand the isolation that comes with being the only female in their squadron.

They have spent years encouraging more women to fly, but as new data obtained by McClatchy shows, there are still few in the ranks, and even fewer who are Black.

Women comprise just 7 percent of the 48,308 active duty, National Guard and reserve pilots now serving in the military. Of those 3,314 female pilots, only 72 identified as African American or Black, according to military data obtained by McClatchy.

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Industry, military looking to women to fill open positions in aviation

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. — As the civil aviation industry grows, and as the Air Force faces a persistent pilot shortage, recruiters in industry and military alike are looking to a relatively untapped pool of qualified candidates — women.

According to the Air Force and FAA, only about 6% of pilots in the Air Force, and in the aviation industry overall, were women in 2019. Outside the cockpit, women are even more underrepresented in aviation-related fields — in 2019 women accounted for only 5.5% of aviation repairers, 4.3% of flight engineers and just 2.5% of certified aviation mechanics. About 1 in 5 air traffic controllers are women.

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After nearly 110 years of naval aviation, the US Navy has welcomed its first Black female tactical jet pilot

(CNN) Soaring through the glass ceilings of both her gender and race, Lt. j.g. Madeline Swegle has made history as the US Navy’s first Black female tactical aircraft pilot.”BZ to Lt. j.g. Madeline Swegle on completing the Tactical Air (Strike) aviator syllabus,” the Chief of Naval Air Training wrote Thursday on Facebook, using the abbreviation BZ for Bravo Zulu, which means “well done.””Swegle is the U.S. Navy’s first known Black female TACAIR pilot and will receive her Wings of Gold later this month,” the post continued.

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Why are there so few women in aviation?

(CNN) ? When Southwest Captain Tammie Jo Shults landed a crippled 737 last year after an engine blew apart mid-air, many people were surprised to find out that there was a woman at the helm.

Today, a critical pilot shortage across the world has given women and people of color unprecedented opportunity.

It has turned airline recruiting on its head and, simply owing to supply and demanding, globally salaries are rising dramatically for pilots and aviation maintenance technicians (AMTs).

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