Photo”” alt=””Photo”” />India has joined the select band of a few nations in the world that have women fighter pilots in their Air Forces. History was created on Saturday as the first three women fighter pilots of the Indian Air Force proudly brandished their stripes and wings. The three women fighter pilots — Flying Officers Avani Chaturvedi, Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh — were conferred with the President’s Commission at the Combined Graduation Parade at Air Force Academy, Dundigal.
The occasion marked the vanguards of the IAF roared into the sky and smeared the sky with tricolor. Each has cleared the first stage of training and has about 150 hours of flying. They will train now for six months on the Advanced Jet Fighter – the British-built Hawk and then will be assigned fighters and their squadrons. The three women are in their mid-20s and have experienced hazards of flying during their initial training.
Avani Chaturvedi said that for pilot it is all about “”split second”” decisions. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar reviewed the Combined Graduation Parade. Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha and other senior IAF officials were present at the ceremony which saw a total of 130 flight cadets, including 22 women trainees, getting commissioned in the IAF as Flying Officers.
It was also indeed a proud moment for 93 young pilots and seven navigators who earned their coveted â€˜Wings and Brevetsâ€™, along with nine officers of Navy and one officer of Coast Guard, on successful completion of their intricate and vigorous flying training. All the guests were left mesmerised by the breath-taking aerobatics by the highly experienced and skilled pilots of SU-30, â€˜Sarangâ€™ the Helicopter Aerobatics Team, and PC 7 MK-II of the IAF. The brave acts of Sky Divers of the â€˜Akash Gangaâ€™ Team were also enthralling.
Addressing the parade, the Defence Minister complimented the newly Commissioned â€˜Flying Officersâ€™ for the exceptional standard of their parade. Keeping in view the changing geo-political and strategic environment and varied security challenges faced by India, Mr. Parrikar urged the young officers to give their best, as future leaders of the IAF, and take it to next higher level of performance by dynamically adapting to the newer environment.
While pointing out that our country is going through a transformational shift to modernise its forces, he exhorted the young officers to widen their horizon and keep pace with the swiftly advancing technology to exploit the true potential of the Aerospace Power.”