Sharon “Betty” Preszler was hand-picked as one member of the initial cadre of women fighter pilots in the United Stated Air Force. She was the first woman to fly the F-16 (a single seat, single engine fighter), the first woman to fly combat missions and instruct in the F-16. Betty has over 1300 hours in the F-16, including over 50 combat hours in Iraq and one ejection, due to electrical failure. In her 20+ years of service in the US Air Force she was also a navigator, piloted a Lear Jet, and spent time in North American Aerospace Defense Command writing our homeland defense plans after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, plans that are still in use today.
After retiring from the Air Force, Betty went to work for Southwest Airlines, where she has flown over 8,000 hours in a Boeing-737. When she isn’t flying, Betty is traveling or scuba diving with her husband and son, volunteering at a local animal shelter, or hanging out at home with her two dogs.