Aviation history is full of many leaders and brave people. These people achieved many firsts in their lifetime and guided the generations that came after them. In this article, let’s get to know the first female jet pilot of NATO and the Republic of Turkey. Who is Leman Bozkurt Altinçekiç? Let’s see together.
Leman Bozkurt was born on November 1, 1932 in Kars, Sarıkamış. While studying in high school, Leman Bozkurt saw an aviation education announcement. This announcement caught the attention of Leman and she applied for the education program. After receiving acceptance, She received glider training at Türkkuşu İnönü Facilities the year she graduated from high school. She joined the Türkkuşu Motor School as a teacher candidate right after she finished her education.
In those years, efforts were made to popularize aviation among young people in Turkey. In this sense, it was decided to include women in the armed forces. This decision was a turning point for Leman Bozkurt Altınçekiç.
In 1954, a decision was made regarding the admission of women to the Armed Forces. After this decision, Leman Bozkurt applied to Izmir Air Force Academy and was accepted. Leman started training here in October 1955. She graduated on August 30, 1957 by completing her training with propeller aircraft.
Leman Bozkurt was an ambitious and passionate woman. She wanted to train as a jet pilot because she wanted to fly faster and higher. She joined the jet training fleet in Eskişehir in August 1958 and successfully completed her training in a short time.
November 22, 1958 – Leman Bozkurt
On November 22, 1958, a Badge Ceremony is held for all pilots and the Jet Pilot title of Leman Bozkurt is finalized, but Leman has a much more special position. She has become Turkey’s First Female Jet Pilot. Moreover, Leman Bozkurt wins the title of the First Female Jet Pilot of not only Turkey but also NATO. This achievement was registered with the Gold Badge. Leman invited Lieutenant Colonel Burhan Göksel, the Commander of Türkkuşu, to this valuable ceremony, and asked him to present her badge. Lieutenant Colonel Burhan Göksel, in his letter in response to this, addresses Leman, whom he sees as his daughter, with these words: “(…) You are a very lucky soldier who won the title of the first woman Jet Pilot in the Turkish Air Force. Tomorrow, our children will always read and be proud of your name in our aviation history. This great honor belongs to you, happy for you. (…) I kiss the eyes of all of you, wish you success and offer my greetings. 18.11.1958 Burhan Goksel”
After this achievement, Leman Bozkurt flew on F-84 and T-33 jet planes for 9 years. She was Turkey’s and NATO’s first and for a long time the only female pilot. She later served as Personnel Plan Branch Manager and Central Branch Manager. She retired from the Air Force with the rank of Colonel.
Leman Bozkurt died on May 4, 2001 in Izmir, Turkey.