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Nicole Margaret Ellingwood Malachowski

First female pilot to fly with the Thunderbirds, the US Air Force’s Air Demonstration Team.

Lieutenant Colonel, US Air Force

The process of earning a spot on the Thunderbirds takes months. Each candidate must have 1,000 hours flying in a fighter or trainer jet. Beginning in January, candidates submit letters of recommendation, a biography and a letter explaining why he or she would like to fly with the Thunderbirds.  After a series of interviews and a flight test at the Thunderbirds home base, five finalists are chosen. Three new members are selected from those finalists.

She has flown more than 1,900 hours, with more than 1,700 hours in the F-15E and F-16C/D Fighting Falcon.  

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