Squadron Leader, Royal Australian Air Force
Squadron Leader Samantha Freebairn is an operational C-17 Globemaster pilot, flying combat and humanitarian relief missions. She is currently the most senior woman pilot in the Royal Australian Air Force, the first female Air Force pilot to return to operational flying after having children and is employed as the Operations ‘B’ Flight Commander for 36 Squadron and their fleet of eight C17 Globemaster aircraft. In 2014, Samantha won the QLD Telstra Business Women’s Award in Business Innovation for her Graduate Pilot Scheme, which incentivises military aviation to women who had never previously considered it. This successfully doubled women pilot numbers in the Air Force in 2 years, when they had remained stagnant for the prior 30 years. Samantha has a Bachelor of Science degree and a Masters of Management in Leadership, is a mum of 2 young children, the wife of a truly patient man and has recently been appointed by the World Economic Forum as a 2016 Young Global Leader in their list of most influential global leaders under 40 years of age.