SHE failed the aptitude tests, was told she had an obesity issue and was accused of not being “feminine enough” during officer training.

But above all odds Mandy Hickson became one of the UK's first ever female fast-jet pilots – and has now shared her story in a self-published autobiography.

The former RAF Tornado specialist, 47, released An Officer, Not a Gentleman as a reflection of her career.

It includes an account of how she followed and achieved her dream despite facing several potential disastrous setbacks.

Mandy, who now lives in Winchester with her husband and sons, has been a successful motivational speaker and trainer since retiring from the Royal Air Force.

She said: "“Growing up I wanted to follow my grandfather’s footsteps, hearing his tales about being a fighter pilot in World War II.

"With a strong female role model in my Mum who was a single mother, I never questioned my ambition to be an RAF fighter pilot. At every step, it was always a male-dominated environment and you are competing with the best of the best.

"When you are in the middle of pushing boundaries you don’t think about it, but now I want to show any boy or girl that they can achieve their dreams – if they work hard enough and stay true to themselves."

Mandy was only the second woman to fly the £35m Tornado GR4 on the front line.

The book is an account of her journey from being initially rejected as a pilot; through literal highs and lows and camaraderie of training; climaxing with her thrilling experience on the front line.

Readers will get an insight into the exhilaration of flying and the reality of the training, including survival training and hostage survival preparation.

It concludes with an uplifting story about flying a young female Air Training Corps cadet with the Volunteer Reserves and encouraging her to aim high.

Mandy added: “I was inspired to write my account because so many people who heard me speaking at events have asked if I have a book.

"Also, it helped when I received a rejection from a major publishing house: 'The argument against you is that books about planes are for a male readership who won’t want to read about a woman’s experiences'."