1st female AH-64E Apache pilot in Asia draws attention at Taiwan Army’s commissioning ceremony

At the ceremony, President Tsai promised the military would have the support it needs to strengthen the country’s defense capability

Yang Yun-hsuan (楊韻璇) is a flight officer at Taiwan's Army

Yang Yun-hsuan (楊韻璇) is a flight officer at Taiwan's Army (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s Army officially commissioned its AH-64E Apache attack helicopters Tuesday morning in Taoyuan with the first female AH-64E flight officer in Asia, Yang Yun-hsuan (楊韻璇), coming under the limelight.

Yang told reporters that she finds it a great honor to be able to operate the AH-64E helicopters despite facing many challenges during the conversion training.

“I told myself that if men can do it, I can do it too,” said Yang as reported by Upmedia.

Yang, 35, is currently the first officer (second pilot) of the AH-64E helicopters in the 601st Brigade of the Army’s Aviation and Special Forces Command. She is also the first female AH-64E helicopter pilot in Asia, with 815 total flight hours.

Tuesday’ commissioning ceremony was held after almost four years of combat evaluation by the Army. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who attended the ceremony before inspecting the brigade, remarked that the commissioning of the AH-64Es by the Army was evidence that the military’s combat capability has made significant gains.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) attends the commissioning ceremony of the Army’s AH-64E Apache attack helicopters (Source: CNA)

I have confidence in this brigade, said the president, adding that it would play an important role in the military’s efforts to defend the country and deter the enemy.

President Tsai also said the government would continue to support the military as it tries to facilitate plans for strengthening the country’ defense capability.

The Ministry of National Defense purchased 30 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters from the U.S. in 2007 with a budget of roughly NT$60 billion (US$1.9 billion), which included training for flight and logistics officers, reported Apple Daily.

The final batch of the AH-64Es was delivered to Taiwan in 2014. However, one helicopter was destroyed during an accident caused by human error earlier that year. Hence, there are only 29 AH-64Es remaining to be placed in service.

AH-64E Apache attack helicopters (Source: CNA)