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NEWS | Oct. 19, 2015

IAAFA welcomes first female instructor pilot

JBSA-Lackland Public Affairs

Maj. Maria Altagracia Tejada, the first female flight instructor pilot in the history of Inter-American Air Forces Academy and the Dominican Republic, from which she hails, has been welcomed to IAFFA’s 318th Training squadron.

Tejada attended the captain course upon her arrival and later completed the pilot instruments procedures course.

The PIPC is a course that teaches the piloting of a plane when there is no visual from outside, causing the operator to rely on the instruments in the plane for takeoff, navigation, avoiding hazards, other planes and landing

“She did very well, graduated and went back to the Dominican Republic. Two years later, she was nominated and chosen to come back and join us as an instructor,” Lt. Col. Scott Latimer, 318th TRS commander, proudly mentioned.

“It’s a huge feather in our cap and a huge feather in the Dominican Republic’s cap that one of their pilots was the best of the best and came back to qualify as an instructor.”

Becoming an instructor pilot can be competitive being that there are 21 partner nations throughout Central and South America relying on the IAAFA PIPC training and wanting to send their pilots.

Latimer adds that, “Tejada earned her wings and the honor of being selected.”

Tejada also completed the advanced instructor pilot instruments procedures course and is qualifi ed to instruct both PIPC and IPIPC to other students. The IPIPC training is taught one-on-one and is designed to teach students to become instructor pilots for instrument flights allowing them to instruct the same skill in their home countries.

Tejada said that her interest in aviation began as a child when her brother was in the military and talked about how amazing his job was.

“I love flying and being able to share that same passion with others that are in the same mindset. It makes me very happy,” she said. “I hope to learn as much as I can so that I can teach others the same skills and share that passion.”

Tejada claims that her greatest achievement is being at IAAFA as an instructor. Finding out that she was selected to qualify was both exciting and emotional.

She has set her career goals high and wants to eventually become a four-star general. She expresses the difficulty of being a female in a male-dominated world, but adds that with hard work, focus and effort she can overcome any obstacle that presents itself.