“My name is Nicole Malachowski, but my call sign is “FiFi”. I am a Major in the Air Force and am currently serving as a White House Fellow in Washington,
Prior to this assignment, I flew an F-16C/D as #3/Right Wing with the USAF
Thunderbirds at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas, Nevada. I have been an Air Force
officer for 13 years, and a fighter pilot in the F-15E for most of those years.
I’m married to an F-15E WSO (Paul).
I am a career fighter pilot in the Air Force. I have flown the F-15E Strike Eagle
in three operational fighter squadrons, and have over 1,000 hours in that
aircraft. I also have over 190 hours of combat time. I’ve flown over 800
hours in the F-16C/D.
I’ve wanted to be a fighter pilot since I was 5 years old. I came from a
patriotic family, who always supported our military. I went to an airshow
where I saw the F-4 Phantom flying, and fell in love with the power,
technology, and grace of the plane. That’s when I decided to become a
fighter pilot. My parents always supported my dreams, and they laid the
foundation for my being able to achieve them.
I was determined to fly from a very young age…and made that choice during
a time when women were not allowed to be fighter pilots. I did, at times, run
into people who were adamant that women could not, or should not, pursue
a career as a fighter pilot. But, I always actively stuck to my goals and chose
to surround myself with positive people who believed in my dreams as much
as I did.
I learned to fly in high school at the North Las Vegas airport. I received a
flying scholarship from the Civil Air Patrol that paid for all of my lessons
through my first solo in a Cessna 172. I have flown a few plans: gliders,
Cessna 152, Cessna 172, T-37 Tweet, T-38 Talon, AT-38, F-15E Strike
Eagle, F-16C/D Falcon. I do not own my own plane, but the Air Force lets me
borrow theirs. :)
It is very rare that a stranger believes I’ve been a fighter pilot for my whole
career, let alone that I had the privilege of flying with the Thunderbirds. Once
the initial shock is over…I often find overwhelming positive support. At the
end of the day, most people are happy to see someone achieve their dreams.
I’ve been blessed by the amount of encouragement and support I have