On this day in 1994, Lt. Kara Hultgreen became the first qualified female F-14 pilot. A few months later, she became the first female F-14 pilot to kill herself trying to land on an aircraft carrier.
What I find more than a little funny is the way Women’s Military Firsts complains: “Although 31 male pilots have died in Tomcat accidents much ado was made over Lt Hultgreen’s accident.”
Perhaps the ado made over Lt Hultgreen’s becoming a pilot might have had something to do with that. Or the fact that the 31 male pilots killed in Tomcat accidents represented at most 0.7 percent of total male Tomcat pilots, whereas Lt Hultgreen represented 100 percent of the female pilots.
(712 F-14s were built from 1969 to 1991, so assuming that at least two pilots per plane were required from 1974 to 2006, the plane’s period of service, there must have been at least 1,423 male F-14 pilots. If the average pilot’s active flying career was 10.6 years, then there would have been at least 4,269 male pilots flying F-14s, of which the 31 killed in accidents would represent 0.7 percent.)