April 4, 2016 (ST. PAUL, Minnesota) — Many Air Force jobs are traditionally dominated by males. However, in recent decades, women who have the intelligence and mental and physical ability to meet and exceed the standards have been rising through the ranks.
Maj. Dana Novinskie, a pilot at the 109th Airlift Squadron, a part of the 133rd Airlift Wing, has been flying since she was 22. This year, she became the first female instructor pilot the wing has ever had.
The 109th Airlift Squadron provides long-range, worldwide airlift on short notice and conducts tactical airlift operations in combat to include aeromedical evacuation and airland and airdrop of troops, supplies and equipment anywhere in the world.
Novinskie got her private pilot’s license while studying engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Upon graduation in 2004, she went on to Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training. She did her Joint Advanced Multi-Engine Pilot Training with the Navy in 2006. In 2007, she became qualified in the C-130 at Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas where she earned Distinguished Graduate Honors. Her first assignment was at Dyess AFB in Abilene, Texas.
Novinskie has since deployed and flown many missions supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation New Dawn. She has accumulated over 670 combat and combat support sorties and has been awarded the Air Medal six times.
In 2012 Novinskie and her husband transferred to the Minnesota Air National Guard unit in St. Paul, Minn. Not long after, she was selected to go to C-130 Instructor Pilot training and is currently the only female instructor pilot in the wing. She is excited to bring her extensive knowledge and skills to the upcoming generation of pilots within the unit.
When asked how she feels about being a female in a predominantly male career field, Novinskie said, “We should be judged on performance and not our race, gender or sexual orientation. None of that matters. I’m just glad we’ve arrived at a time in history where that’s possible.”
by Capt. Winnie Tan
133rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs