Military Aviation

She’s Beautiful! Meet Fanny “Shotty” Chollet, the First Swiss Air Force Female Fighter Pilot

Fanny “Shotty” Chollet is one of only seven female pilots. The other six fly helicopters.

Flying Officer (First Lieutenant) Fanny “Shotty” Chollet is the first woman in the Swiss Air Force to be qualified as a fighter pilot.

“Shotty”started her training in 2012 and was awarded her licence in 2017 and in 2018 completed courses that qualified her to fly the Swiss Air Force’s flagship F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets. She’s been part of the Swiss Air Force fighter pilot community since Jan. 1, 2019. The 28-year-old from canton Vaud in western Switzerland regularly crosses the country at speeds of up to 1,900km/h (1,180mph).

As reported by SwissInfo.ch, the law had to be changed in 2004 to allow women to become fighter pilots. Only 0.7% of the Army and Air Force is female. At the beginning of 2018 there were 995 women in the Swiss Army: 383 soldiers, 223 non-commissioned officers (NCOs), 95 senior NCOs and 294 officers. As of the beginning of this year there were 136 women in the Air Force. Chollet is one of only seven female pilots. The other six fly helicopters.

Part of the reason for the shortage of women in the armed forces is that Switzerland has conscription for men only.

“Young women have to do a lot more to reach this position than young men as they have to volunteer to go to officer training school,” says air force commander Bernhard Müller.

That said, Switzerland’s defence minister is a woman. Viola Amherd assumed the mantle at the beginning of 2019 after a major government reshuffle.

As shown in the following video, Chollet met journalists at the military airfield in Payerne, canton Vaud.

Photo credit: VBS / DDPS / Swiss Air Force

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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