Female F-22 Raptor pilot breaks barriers in her career field

Female F-22 Raptor pilot
Posted at 1:21 PM, May 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-06 11:45:40-04

HAMPTON, Va. - There are only four female F-22 Raptor pilots in the world, and Maj. Chelsea "Contra" is one of them.

Maj. Chelsea is stationed at Joint Base Langley-Eustis and is attached to the 94th Fighter Squadron. She is currently an instructor pilot.

“It's something I don’t generally try to characterize myself as, the female F-22 pilot," Maj. Chelsea said. "I prefer to be known as a F-22 pilot who just happens to be female.”

She said her journey to the Raptor started eight years ago. In pilot training, she was the only woman in her class.

“It’s always been my day-to-day interaction so it doesn’t feel strange being the only female, because it’s pretty much what I’m used to, but it definitely is small numbers of females,” Maj. Chelsea said.

She said handling the $140 million-dollar jet for the first time was a dream come true.

“Someone said, 'Make sure you take a second to look back over your shoulder and see what you’re actually doing, because you’re so focused at that point,'" Maj. Chelsea said. "So the first time just looking back and seeing I was flying the F-22 was a really cool experience.”

Maj. Chelsea says for any woman wanting to get into a fighter — go for it.

“I love it, I love the F-22. I think it’s the most impressive aircraft we have in the inventory and it probably will be in terms of air to air fighters," Maj. Chelsea said.