By Woman Pilot staff writer
Major Nicole M. E. Malachowski, the first female demonstration pilot on the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron “Thunderbirds”, performed her first public performance with the team in March 2006. Major Malachowski flies the No. 3 jet as the right wing pilot in the diamond formation.
As a member of the Thunderbirds, she flew F-16 Fighting Falcon and spend over 200 days on the road. Major Nicole Malachowski performed with the Thunderbird team at the Chicago Air and Water Show in August 2007. Her last performance with the Thunderbird team was in November 2007.
A graduate of the Air Force Academy, she has been an Air Force officer for 11 years, a fighter pilot in the F-15E for 8 years, and a pilot with the Thunderbirds for 18 months. She’s married to an F-15E WSO, Her call sign is “FiFi”.
Maj. Nicole Malachowski entered the Air Force in 1996 upon graduation from the U.S. Air Force Academy. She served as an F-15E Instructor Pilot and Flight Commander with the 494th Fighter Squadron in Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England. She has logged over than 1,300 hours as an Air Force pilot, with more than 1,000 hours in the F-15E. Other aircraft she has flown are: T-37, T-38, AT-38, F-15E, F-16C/D.
Major Nicole Malachowski provided air support over Kosovo in 1998 during the Bosnian/Serb conflict and on Election Day in Iraq. Major Malachowski served four months in Operation Iraqi Freedom – F-15 Strike Eagle fighter. She is a native of Las Vegas, Nevada.
Major Samantha Weeks
A second female pilot joined the Thunderbird team in June 2007. Major Samantha Weeks flies #6 – opposing solo pilot. Major Weeks is a 1997 graduate of the Air Force Academy. She served with the 12th Fighter Squadron as a flight commander and instructor pilot, flying the F-15C/D “Eagle.” She has flown missions for the 94th Fighter Squadron over Iraq. She flies the F-16 “Fighting Falcon with the Thunderbirds. She’s from Rome, New York and married to an USAF major, Curtis Weeks.
The President of the Ninety-Nines International Organization of Women Pilots, Patricia Noyes Prentiss, visited Chicago to watch Nicole and Samantha fly in the Chicago Air and Water Show. Ms. Prentiss and Editor-in-Chief of the 99 News magazine, Bobbi Roe, interviewed the Thunderbird pilots at their staging airport before the air show. Both Thunderbird female pilots are members of the prestigious international association of women pilots with over 5,000 members worldwide. Visit www.ninety-nines.org