In the Falcons squad of the Combat Wing 23, at the Manta Air Base, Manabi, yesterday there were moments of pride and joy. It was the completion of the combat pilots course that delivered eight new aircraft to the Ecuadorian Air Force (FAE).
The classical music of these ceremonies solemnly filled the place: “Combat pilots, brave, air knights, forged in indomitable steel …”, says his lyrics, since in the beginning this specialty was projected only for men. But yesterday two women joined this military combat team as pioneers.
This is María José Cueva and Jazmín Pérez Cobos, who yesterday afternoon passed the last test of “flight ready for combat” in two A 29-B Super Tucano aircraft with MK 82 bombs. And tomorrow they will officially graduate as the new ones Combat pilots of the 65th promotion, in a ceremony with the FAE authorities, in Manta.
Cueva, Quito, 26, and Pérez, Otavaleña, 28, started eight years ago at the pilot training school in Salinas, Santa Elena. And a year ago they were selected to participate in this special training course in Manta. On that occasion there were fifteen applicants and only eight, including them, passed the tests.
The combat pilot course lasted at least one year. There were 330 hours of academic preparation, 36 hours in flight simulation exercise and emergency preparedness, and 60 hours of flight, said Galo Venegas, commander of Wing 23.
He added that the complexity of the specialty is based on the study of attack strategies, weapons, emergency management, among other knowledge acquired in this process.
Cueva said that the biggest challenge was to overcome their own fears. He explained that in the preparation days everyone was treated equally and that they stood out along with their six companions.
Both officers said their passion for aviation was born since adolescence. Pérez said she has two military relatives and that in a ceremony she was able to observe the civics, respect and loyalty that captivated her, so she decided to follow the road years later.
While Cueva explained that he watched a video of pilots and set a goal to enter the Air Force.
For this both had to leave other professions that marked his life. In the case of Pérez, he left aside two semesters in Engineering. And for Cueva, suspend his participation as a taekwondo selected by Ecuador in the Pan American Games, in Mexico, eight years ago.
“To fulfill dreams you also need sacrifices. So now we set a benchmark for more women to enter these ranks. If they were not there before it was not because they did not have the capabilities, but because there have not been opportunities, that in the future more women will arrive and that they will be welcomed like us, ”said Cueva.
In the act of completion of the course were senior officers, airmen, among other members of the FAE. There they were imposed laurel wreaths that are placed on men and women winners and the traditional handwashing was carried out with the oil of the aircraft to start this path.