Monday, April 20, 2009
The Russian built Mikoyan-Gurevich (M-I-G) 29-N Fighter jets.
From Russia with love
When she was young, her parents wanted her to become a piano teacher.
But Patricia Yapp Syau Yin was bent on becoming a pilot and pursued her dream.
Today, not many of us are aware that the 32-year-old Malaysian from Sandakan, Sabah holds the world record as the first ever woman to become a qualified MiG-29 fighter pilot.
Royal Malaysian Air Force, RMAF MIG 29 N fighter jets
A nice video of a MIG29
Now RMAF Captain, Patricia hopes the Government will seriously consider her request to be Malaysia's first female astronaut.
"The recent success of our first angkasawan has opened the eyes of many people, including myself. I hope to continue that success," she said.
Patricia is beautiful too.
In November 2007, she beat nine other participants in the five-minute Ratu Inspirasi contest segment of TV3's popular women's programme, Nona.
The segment, featured 10 of the country's top female achievers. "I didn't expect to win. I thought the winner of such contests would be someone from a corporate background," said Patricia.
"All the contestants have distinctive values and are no less successful than the other," she said.
"The reason might be due to the work I do, which is still perceived as a novelty among women." The fact that she is in a field monopolised by men, and one focused on serving the country, might have contributed to her win.
"I hope this will open the public's eyes, especially women, that we can do anything we want if we have faith in ourselves. Gender is not an issue anymore".
During her early involvement with RMAF, Patricia, who had been chosen to board America's most sophisticated aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan in 2006, said it wasn't smooth sailing initially.
"Since I was young, I knew this was what I wanted to do. The fact that my brother, who was a pilot with Malaysia Airlines, was also one of the reasons for my determination.
"My parents, especially my father, didn't approve. They were sceptical of a woman wanting to be a fighter pilot. They thought it was not a suitable job for a woman," she said.
"After looking at my achievements in this field, they finally turned around and I know they couldn't be happier," said Patricia.
"Many women are afraid to even think of becoming a pilot, for fear of having to endure the gruelling physical training.
“Actually, flying is not judged by muscle strength. It is more of mental preparedness and determination,” she said. (especially when you have to endure G forces up to 5G!!!)
“My fellow pilots as well as commanding officer Kol Lim Thian Hu from our RMAF 17th Squadron in Kuantan constantly encouraged me to keep on going,” she said.
She said she started training with a small MD-3 aircraft and later progressed to bigger planes, such as the PC-7 and Aermacchi MB339A.
Royal Malaysian Air Force, Russian made Sukhoi SU-30MKM (more advanced than the MIG 29N jet fighters!!!)
She has piloted the MIG-29 and now wants to fly the Russian built Sukhoi SU-30MKM which the Government purchased recently.
Royal Malaysian Air Force, US Made F/A 18D Hornet jet fighters (perhaps more advanced than the Russian built Sukhoi SU-30MKM jet fighters!!!)
Patricia was given the opportunity to get some hands-on experience with the MiG-29 'Fulcrum' in 1998, which she described as nerve-racking.
"Words couldn't describe it. It's normal to feel nervous, and I knew it was something I had to overcome if I really wanted to be a fighter jet pilot," she reminisced.
"After much practice and experience, I feel more confident now,"
"As far as I know, no woman has ever piloted the 'Flanker'. I hope I can be the first," said Patricia, the second of three siblings.
She also intends to become a qualified flying instructor. "When you are a pilot, you will be trained as an instructor and I'm looking forward to that. I'd like to share my experience with the younger generation and hope to see more women in this field in the future."
All the best Patricia....