Meet 1st Lt. Kelsey Flannery, The Air National Guards First Female F-35 Pilot
A female pilot from Kentucky made history by piloting an F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft for the Air National Guard. According to the Air National Guard 30-year-old 1st, Lt. Kelsey Flannery made her first flight in F-35 as a Vermont Air National Guard member on September 7th.
According to the officials Flannery has been training for 3 years to become an F-35A Lightning II pilot.
“I really wanted to be on the leading edge, It’s exciting to get up there, go fast, and be able to employ weapons, so that was one of the more appealing parts of it.”
This 30-year-old female pilot’s father was also an Air Force pilot and it was her dream too to become a military pilot. Flannery never knew and nobody brought up the topic of her being the first female F-35 pilot to the Air National Guard in the 3 years of process to becoming one.
“There’s definitely been a trail blazed already. I’m really grateful to the women who have done that, but nobody has brought it up, and I feel very much like an equal here. People just treat me like a wingman, and it’s great as it allows me to focus more on flying.”
Capt. Jake Dubie, the instructor of 1st Lt. Kelsey Flannery said that she did great on her first flight in Vermont,
“Never had to worry about her up in the air. She did an awesome job, so it was definitely a lot of fun.”
Flannery is so excited to be a part of the 134th Fighter Squadron as it has a great reputation in the fighter community and it has been around since World War II.
“The heritage here goes back so many decades, and it’s so important that we retain that heritage,”