Pioneering F-111 pilot’s flight suit donated to Evans museum
TALK about a trailblazer - Flight Lieutenant Brooke Chivers was the first Australian woman to earn a place behind the controls of an F-111 Aardvark.
Along the way she not only survived the intense physical and mental testing that sorted out the best from the rest, but broke down a historic gender barrier.
Crewing fast jet fighters is recognised as being the toughest and most dangerous skill in the Air Force.
The story behind this groundbreaking officer is why the Evans Head F-111 Museum is ecstatic about having just taken delivery of her original flying suit.
The flight suit was delivered personally to the museum last week by Parliamentary Secretary for the Defence Minister Darren Chester, alongside Page MP Kevin Hogan.
Flt Lt Chivers was one of only two female Defence Force flight navigators trained in the F-111 in during the legendary jet's history, graduating in 2000.
As a navigator she was also trained to fly the iconic aircraft, which served the RAAF for almost 40 years until their recent retirement.
Her suit will go on special display at the museum alongside the huge polished F-111 which proudly dominates the hangar.
"This is indeed a pleasure and a great surprise and addition to our growing collection of military memorabilia," Rod Kinnish, president of the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome Heritage Aviation Association, said.
Mr Kinnish said the visit by Mr Chester was a good opportunity for committee members to discuss future plans for improvement of the museum - including the possible acquisition of other historical military aircraft.
"This young museum is certainly getting off the ground and is a real asset to the local community, and it is building a clear and vibrant display of our proud military history", Mr Chester said.