Niloofar Rahmani

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Nilofar Rahmani accepts her pilot wings at a ceremony in May 2013.

Niloofar Rahmani (Persian:نیلوفر رحمانی born 1992) is the first female fixed-wing Air Force aviator in Afghanistan's history. She is also the first female pilot in the Afghani military since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. Though her family received death threats, she persevered to complete her training.[1]

In 2015, Rahmani won the U.S. State Department's International Women of Courage Award.[2][3]

Biography[change | change source]

2nd Lt. Niloofar Rhmani stands alongside the other four graduates of undergraduate pilot training just prior to receiving their pilot wings at a ceremony May 14, 2013, at Shindand Air Base, Afghanistan. Rhmani made history May 14, 2013, when she became the first female to successfully complete undergraduate pilot training and earn the status of pilot in more than 30 years. She will continue her service as she joins the Kabul Air Wing as a Cessna 208 pilot.

Rahmani was born in Afghanistan in 1992. Since she was a child, she had a dream of becoming a pilot and spent nearly a year studying English to be able to attend flight school.[4] She enlisted in the Afghan Air Force Officer Training Program in 2010 and in July 2012 graduated as a Second Lieutenant.[5][6]

Two female helicopter pilots during the Soviet era, along with her father, served as inspiration for Rahmani's achievement.[7][8] Her first solo flight was in a Cessna 182. Wanting to fly larger aircraft, she went to advanced flight school and was soon flying the C-208 military cargo aircraft.[9] Women are traditionally banned from transporting dead or wounded soldiers; however, Rahmani defied orders when she discovered injured soldiers upon landing in one mission. Flying them to a hospital, she reported her actions to her superiors, who imposed no sanctions.[10]

When her achievements were publicized, Captain Rahmani's family received threats from both family members and the Taliban, who disapproved of her ambition and career choices. The family has had to move several times[5] but Rahmani is resolute and aims to fly a larger C-130 plane and become a flight instructor to inspire other women.[8]

References[change | change source]

  1. "AWIU » 2015 IWOC Awardees".
  2. "Biographies of 2015 Award Winners".
  3. https://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/03/05/state-department-honors-international-women-of-courage
  4. Jawad, Sayed (16 May 2013). "First Female Afghan Air Force pilot graduated in 30 years". Khaama Press. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Biographies of 2015 Award Winners".
  6. "2015 International Women of Courage Award Winners - International Women of Courage Celebration".
  7. "MilitaryFirst Afghan female pilot aims to soar". newscentral. 10 March 2015. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Kovach, Gretel C. (March 10, 2015). "Pilot Breaks Gender Barrier". U-T SanDiego. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  9. Lebron, Jennifer (13 March 2015). "First Afghan Woman Pilot Flies with Blue Angels". US Navy. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  10. Naso, Bridget (Mar 9, 2015). "Groundbreaking Female Afghan Pilot Inspires in San Diego". NBC San Diego. Retrieved 15 March 2015.

Other websites[change | change source]