27 Feb 2020 10:00

Russia's long-range bombers may be piloted by female for first time ever

KRASNODAR. Feb 27 (Interfax) - A student of the Krasnodar Higher Military Aviation School may become Russia's first ever female long-range aviation pilot, the school's deputy chief Oleg Buchelnikov told journalists.

"Yekaterina Pchela is so far the only female mastering programs of long-range aviation. She is from a family of pilots. Her father, Oleg Pchela, commands a long-range aviation unit," Buchelnikov said.
If Yekaterina Pchela successfully completes the training program, she will become Russia's first female long-range aviation pilot.

Russia's Long-Range Aviation consists of Tupolev Tu-160 and Tupolev Tu-95MS strategic bombers, which are elements of the nuclear triad, as well as Tupolev Tu-22M3 long-range bombers.

Buchelnikov also said that female students of the school are now studying the whole range of military aviation programs.

"There is at least one girl studying every of four specialties. One is studying attack [aviation specialty], one long-range, seven fighter, and the rest military-transport. There are now 45 female students at the school," he said.

The average mark that female students got after taking exams is higher than that of male students, he said.

In 2017, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu made a decision to let female students study aviation specialties at the Krasnodar Higher Military Aviation School. Initially, they were allowed to study only the military-transport aviation specialty.

In spring 2020, second- and third-year female students are expected to fly for the first time as part of their flying training program, Krasnodar Higher Military Aviation School chief Sergei Rumyantsev told the Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper of the Russian Defense Ministry.