Seven years after graduation from the nonpareil Philippine Military Academy, Cotabato-born Jul Laiza Mae Camposano-Beran has notched a distinguishing, if consequential, feather in her cap: first female jet fighter pilot of the country’s Air Force.
1st Lt. Camposano-Beran, who gained around 180 hours of flying time in the two propeller-driven T-41D or the Cessna R-172 before graduating in 2017 from the Philippine Air Force Flying School, has been checked out as the first female pilot and wingman ready to operate an AS-211 fighter pilot in the ranks of the Philippine Air Force.
She continued to gain altitude as she flew the SIAI-Marchetti SF-260MP in the Basic Phase of her military pilot training.
Her recognition on Thursday coincided with the last day of Women’s Month, which made Camposano-Beran, from the PAF’s 5th Fighter Wing stationed at the Basa Air Base in Floridablanca, Pampanga, a tall frame and a graven image among the women of this country.
She knows exactly what it means to have flown the trainer jet AS-211, converted by the PAF into a light combat aircraft.
We join her family and the rest of the country in executing a snappy salute to the junior Air Force officer whose demeanor at the finish line of the Women’s Month suggests self-effacement, whose completion of the combat training included air-to-air, air-to-ground, and air-to-surface drills.
A footnote to this extraordinary feat is that two other female pilots are still undergoing training on flying and handling an AS-211 fighter jet.
The PAF also has other female pilots capable of flying the AW-109 helicopter, the MG-520 attack helicopter, and the turboprop Super Tucano bomber planes.
She has started to be a backset pilot of the more modern FA-50 fighter jets.
She will eventually transition to the FA-50, which means it will be a long flight above the Philippine clouds, with her seniors saying this may mean after 300 hours of flying time, she will be evaluated if she can handle FA-50, then she can transition to the FA-50, the PAF’s primary jet fighter capable of speeds of Mach 1.5 acquired from South Korea in 2015.
Unquestionably, Camposano-Beran has underlined one axiom: anybody, male or female, can achieve any dream, however big it is, if they work hard enough for it.
She has blazed a trail: with the thousands of feet she has achieved in altitude, her discipline, and determination as well as passion for her calling—something the younger men and women who dream big as well can encode in their radar screens.