Flt. Lt. Joanne 'Jo' Mein (1971-)First female Roulette pilot in the Royal Australian Air Force's elite formation aerobatic team
Flt. Lt. Joanne 'Jo' Mein
Flt. Lt. Joanne Mein, the RAAF Roulettes' first female member and the world's first woman to fly in a military precision flying team
Joanne made her public debut over Brisbane on 6 August 1999.
Aviation liberation for Roulettes' latest pilot
Flt. Lt. Mein, 28, yesterday officially became the elite aerobatic team's latest pilot, a position that also bestowed on her the honor of being the first woman selected as a Roulette in the team's 29-year history. Indeed, Flt. Lt. Mein is believed to be the only female pilot in the Western defence forces to have earned a place on an aerobatics team.
Flying aircraft No.66 in position two directly behind Squadron Commander Gareth "Chuck" Neilsen, Flt. Lt. Mein, has begun an 18-month stint with the team that she says allows her to be "paid to do my hobby".
Flt. Lt. Joanne 'Jo' Mein, Roulette 6
Photo: Mark Smith 28/07/1999 Ref #: 05090438
While considering it an honor and a dream come true - especially since she grew up in the Roulettes' home town of Sale and has watched the planes and dreamed of being a pilot all her life - she is surprisingly matter-of-fact and calm about her new position.
"A lot of people see me as being a role model and a trailblazer and stuff like this - but I don't think that at all," she said yesterday at the RAAF's Point Cook air base.
"As I said before, I'm not a female pilot I'm just a pilot doing a job I love doing. I don't think it's dangerous otherwise I wouldn't do it." She does, however, remember her first sortie.
'Jo' Mein, Roulette 6 and entrant in the BMW celebrity race
Photo: newsphotos 07/03/2000 Ref# 05999181
And despite being the only female in the team and one of only 10 female pilots in the RAAF, Flt. Lt. Mein says she is not treated any differently by her male counterparts.
"They've known me for a long time so they're not treating me any differently," she says. Besides, they have to consider her equally capable of doing the job otherwise they would put their own lives at risk.
Flt. Lt. Mein's first official performance will be the Royal Brisbane Show on 6 August.
Roulettes : "The Mirror"