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Pilots Velázquez, left, and Martínez. Pilots Velázquez, left, and Martínez.

For the first time, 2 women will pilot aircraft in military parade

One will copilot an F-5 Tiger, flying in the lead plane in Monday's Independence Day celebration

For the first time in Mexican history, two women will fly in the Independence Day military parade on September 16.

Lieutenant Karen Vanessa Velázquez Ruiz will copilot one of four Northrop F-5 fighter planes, while Miriam Martínez Magaña will fly a Texan T-6C training aircraft.

Mexico City native Velázquez is the first woman in the Mexican Air Force (FAM) to copilot an F-5 Tiger and will fly in the lead plane.

“My main function is to watch our timing and support the flight commander in maintaining our speed, and that way we’ll fly over the parade at the correct time,” she told the newspaper El Universal.

Excited by the challenge ahead of her, Velázquez, 29, added that the speedy F-5 Tigers will fly in a diamond formation over the Mexico City zócalo.

“The principal characteristic of the F-5 plane is that it’s supersonic, which means it can fly faster than the speed of sound, and it’s principal missions are air-to-air and air-to-ground combat, as well as interception and air escort,” she said.

She said the Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena) has worked hard to include more women in the military, creating equality and camaraderie among personnel.

At the helm of a Texan T-6C, Pilot Miriam Martínez is the first female flight commander in a military parade.

“It’s incredible. I will be in a formation of 20 planes. I believe I have a big responsibility to represent women in my role as a flight commander. Participating in the 20-plane formation is to trust in the other 19 planes around me,” she said.

Martínez affirmed that she is focused on the responsibility, but she also feels “calm about the job that we’re doing.”

A total of 50 airplanes and 22 helicopters will accompany the parade, which will run about an hour and a half in celebration of the 209th anniversary of “the cry for independence” from Spain.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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