The Country’s First Female Fighter Pilots Get Their Wings
Women Empowerment In India Takes A Big Leap As The Country’s First Female Fighter Pilots Get Their Wings
On the 18th of Jun 2016, history was made not only for the Indian Air Force, but for the entire female population of India. On this day, the first batch of three women fighter pilots got their wings making it possible for countless other females across the country to dream about defending the skies of our vast nation. As Bhawana Kanth, Avni Chaturvedi, Mohana Singh, were commissioned into the Indian Air Force, the pride and joy on their faces was a sight to behold. Despite having come from different background, the ladies were united by their single objective of becoming a fighter pilot and serving the nation.
Bhawana Kanth, Avni Chaturvedi, Mohana Singh are all trained pilots with more than 150 hours of flying experience. Before being commissioned into the Air Force, the ladies had to undergo a rigorous training for the past six months at the Hakempet Base. Their training also included the mandatory 55 hours of flying on the Pilatus PC 7 basic trainer, a Stage I trainer for fighter pilots. The women will now be undergoing a further six months of training on the Hawk, the advanced jet fighter built by the British, before they will be assigned to their squadrons and fighters. Having broken the barriers to get into the jumpsuits donned by fighter pilots, these ladies will be commanding fighter planes like Tejas and Sokhi, after having successfully completed the third and final stage of their training in Bidar next year.
Given below are the brief details of these three women who are all in their mid twenties and have attained an extraordinary objective, while paving the way for countless other females to tread the same path.
Bhawana is the daughter of an Indian Oil Corporation officer and hails from Darbhanga, Bihar. Her homemaker mother never thought that the childhood dream of her daughter to fly like a free bird would be realized in this manner. According to her, being provided with an opportunity to opt for the fighter stream was the best thing to have happened to her after joining IAF.
Coming from a family of army officers, the sense of serving the nation was instilled in Avni from the day she was born. Avni, who comes from Satna in Madhya Pradesh, always wanted to fly which is also why she joined the flying club in her college. However, her biggest inspiration behind joining IAF was her brother, who serves in the army. And when Avni got the chance to opt for fighter stream, she naturally grabbed it with both hands.
The people of Jhunjhunu, in Rajasthan must surely be feeling proud as the daughter of the town Mona Sigh became one of the first women fighter pilots in India. He father works as a warrant officer in IAF and her grandfather held the position of a flight gunner in the Aviation Research Center. Mohana is feeling proud that she has been granted an opportunity to be a part of the IAF in a way that no-one in her family ever imagined.
The commissioning ceremony was held at the Air Force Academy in Hyderabad, in the presence of Defense Minister, Mr. Manohar Parrikar. With the Air Force having opened its gates for female fighters to serve the nation, it is expected that the Army will soon follow the lead. However, until that happens, the event is being considered by many as a major step in the direction of promoting women empowerment across the country. While the nation struggles with the issues of female feticide, gender inequality and rising crime against women, these three females will act as a source of inspiration for countless parents and daughters. They might also help in sending across the message that when given an opportunity, women can be as strong and as willing to lay down their lives for the country as its men.