Colonel Nicole Malachowski was the first female pilot for the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. A tick bite suddenly changed her life and career.

Nicole Malachowski |

AVIATE with Shaesta

Our guest today, who will conclude season two of the AVIATE with Shaesta podcast, is Colonel Nicole Malachowski. At age 5, during a time when women were not permitted to fly for the military, Nicole knew that someday, she would fly a fighter jet. Finishing fourth in her class, Nicole graduated from pilot training at Columbus AFB, Mississippi, and was selected for the only F-15E slot allotted to her class. Nicole has served in a few operational tours and went into combat for the United States Air Force. In 2005, Nicole made history by becoming the first woman to fly for the Thunderbirds, completing 140 performances, and inspiring a generation of women aviators. In my conversation, I ask Nicole about her remarkable career and how she managed her mental health along the way. We also discuss Nicole’s physical health, especially after she was suddenly diagnosed with a tick-borne illness, which changed her life and career trajectory.

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Download: Aviate 06012022

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