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First female fighter pilot makes history

Posted 18 January 2019 · Add Comment

Pilot Officer Shaikha Aisha bint Rashid Al Khalifa has become the first Bahraini woman to fly a military aircraft in the history of the Royal Bahrain Air Force (RBAF), writes Jon Lake.

On July 11, 2018 she piloted a BAE Hawk trainer for a one-hour flight from Shaikh Isa Air Base.
After landing, she described her achievement as being a “dividend of the motivating climate provided by the government for Bahraini women to take part and stand out in various domains of national work”.
The Kingdom of Bahrain has made real efforts to empower its female citizens.
Nearly 20% of parliamentary seats are held by women, and 75% of Bahraini women reach a secondary or higher level of education compared to 80% of male Bahrainis.
Sheikha Aisha, who is the granddaughter of the prime minister, His Royal Highness Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, was also the first Bahraini woman to graduate from the UK’s prestigious Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst.
She expressed her heartfelt thanks and gratitude to her grandfather for what she called his unlimited support, and pledged herself to even greater efforts in serving the nation under the leadership of the king, His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.
The prime minister took the opportunity to praise the Bahrain Defence Force (BDF) as a “national edifice”, and said that royal support had allowed “multiple achievements”. He added that the BDF was a source of great pride, thanks to its competencies and successful participation in regional operations, as well as protecting the nation and maintaining its security and stability, protecting legitimacy and promoting regional security and stability.
A number of members of the royal family already serve with the RBAF, some of them as F-16 pilots, and Sheikha Aisha attended Sandhurst at the same time as Jordan’s Crown Prince Hussein, who has trained as a helicopter pilot.
Sandhurst was also the alma mater of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, and his son, HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, with Sheikh Mohammed becoming a Mirage fighter pilot.
 

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