What’s it like to be first? In March 2006, Maj. Nicole Malachowski debuted as the first woman pilot selected to fly in any American military demonstration team, in this case, the Air Force Demo Squadron better known as the Thunderbirds, flying F-16Cs. Major Malachowski’s two seasons as Thunderbird #3 Right Wing broke another glass ceiling for women, but more importantly gave her a chance to do what she loves: fly with (and as) the best.
Major Malachowski saw her first air show at five years of age, started flying with the Civil Air Patrol at 12, and soloed at 16. She set her sights on becoming an Air Force pilot and never looked back. After excelling at the Air Force Academy she flew F-15Es all over the world including a tour in Iraq. Major Malachowski’s no-nonsense character and superb flying ability have brought her high accolades throughout her Air Force career but most especially during the Thunderbird tour of duty where she flew as one of the team but endured the spotlight as the “first female.” Come hear Major Malachowski speak about her stunning career as a role model, Air Force pilot, and down-to-earth woman as she continues to inspire young women and men to follow her example and achieve their dreams.