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Sky is not the limit for RMAF female pilots
Published on: Friday, June 02, 2017
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Labuan: Soaring through the vast expanse of the sky at breakneck speed was a typical day at work for Major Patricia Yapp Syau Yin, of the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF), Asia's first MiG-29 female fighter pilot.Her sheer courage and competence had enabled Yapp, 41, from Sandakan, to become "one of the boys" and on par with her male colleagues.

She said that she was interested and developed deep passion for flying fighter jet since her childhood years.

"Some of my past experiences including as a fighter pilot for five years from 2003 to 2007 and it was followed by my appointment as a flight instructor training students to fly a Pilatus PC-7 Mk II at the RMAF Training College in Kepala Batas, Kedah," she said.

Yapp was speaking to media practitioners at Media Day held in conjunction with the 59th RMAF Day themed "Kuasa Udara Tonggak Kedaulatan Negara" at the Labuan Air Base recently.

Yapp said that during her 20 years of service in the RMAF, she was flying two types of fighter jets namely MB-339 and MiG-29 and had her share of unforgettable experiences.

"While flying the MB-339 fighter jet, the engine developed problem and caught fire, and I had to make "Mayday call" where people would give top priority for us to land on the runway.

"Another experience was when I was operating MiG-29 fighter jet, and it happened when I was at my highest altitude and suddenly I experienced lack of oxygen that I fell unconscious for a few seconds before I managed to press a special button that supplied oxygen in the cockpit," she said.

For RMAF first woman helicopter pilot Lt Col Norhana Abdul Manaf, 43, who hailed from Selangor, joining the male-dominated field was the biggest challenge of her life.

"Encouragement and enthusiasm from family and colleagues helped me a lot to be brave and fearless to fly helicopter in carrying out any RMAF operations," she said.

She recalled an unforgettable incident while on duty when the helicopter she was flying in, with doctors and medical supplies onboard, developed technical problems that they all ended stranded in a remote Orang Asli settlement for three days for assistance to arrive.


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