South Dakota woman takes part in historic Air Force flight

Published: Mar. 5, 2021 at 10:41 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Captain Kristi Miner of Colome, South Dakota went from not even wanting to be a pilot to now being a part of history, as she was recently involved in a historic flight for the U.S. Air Force as part of the first-ever all-female crew to fly the KC-46.

The flight was in part to support an initiative to increase the number of women and minorities in the Air Force.

As of October, only about 838 women in the Air Force served as pilots, according to the Air Force personnel center officials.

“If you would have asked me when I was growing up what I wanted to be I would have never said that I wanted to be a pilot. I just never knew that it would be an opportunity that would be available to me,” said Capt. Miner.

Miner says she is honored to have been a part of such a historic flight and hopes it will inspire other women.

“Hopefully it sparks an interest in aviation or even serving in the military in general. I think it matters to see people that look like you out there doing cool things, out there succeeding, If we gave them the opportunity or if we gave them a little inspiration then that’s something I’ll certainly always be proud of,” said Miner.

The KC-46 is a relatively new refueling tanker without many female pilots, making this flight a difficult one to set up.

Miner and the rest of the crew finished their flight by holding a panel talking to young female Air Force members in the very same auditorium they had once been in themselves as cadets.

The panel covered a pilot’s role in the Air Force, experience as a woman in aviation, and the KC-46 program capabilities.

For the six McConnell pilots that graduated from the Academy, this meant an opportunity to give a first-hand perspective to the women sitting in the seats they once filled years ago.

Miner says she was very excited to be involved with this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

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