Nevada Air National Guard gets first female instructor pilot

Nevada Air National Guard gets first female instructor pilot
© YouTube/Fox5 Las Vegas

The Nevada Air National Guard has installed its first female flight instructor pilot.

Maj. Sarah Spy, a C-130 Hercules pilot for the 152nd Operations Group, finished instructor pilot school in May. She told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that "it’s kind of mind-blowing that there’s still firsts to be had in women in aviation, but I got one.”

Female representation among pilots remains stark. According to 2020 data from the Federal Aviation Administration, there’s approximately 55,000 total female pilots in the U.S. out of roughly 653,000 pilots. 

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But it’s only been since the early 1990s that Congress passed legislation for women to be able to fly in combat missions, Spy noted.

Spy said in the interview with Las Vegas Review-Journal that she always wanted to be a pilot growing up and felt an exhilaration watching planes take off as she looked outside her window. 

She said during the interview that she wants those with a passion for aviation to pursue their dreams.

"I grew up not exactly well off, so it was a little bit of a difficult journey to make it through where I was, so I just wouldn't want anyone to give up because I've heard so many times, 'I was wanting to be a pilot, but I couldn't do this, I had this issue, I can't afford that. I just try not to let people let those blocks get in the way so someday they're not saying, 'I wanted to be a pilot, but …'" Spy said. 

The training took years for Spy to complete and included at least 4,500 flight hours and over 750 hours as a co-pilot, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.