Indian Air Force to get first 3 women fighter pilots on June 18 -2016: Indian Air Force to get first three women fighter pilots on June 18. These three women flight cadets are – Flight Cadets Bhawana Kanth of Bihar, Avani Chaturvedi of Madhya Pradesh and Mohana Singh of Rajasthan. The three are the first batch of Women Flight Cadets undergoing training for commissioning in the Fighter Stream of IAF Flying Branch “She always wanted to fly the best of the fighter aircraft in the IAF. She dreams of being part of the future combat missions and fight for the nation when duty calls for guarding the nation’s skies,” says Wing Commander Banerjee. Mohana hails from Jhunjunu in Rajasthan and did her schooling from Air Force School, New Delhi. She completed her B Tech (Electronics & Comm) from GIMET, Amritsar.
She loves singing, sketching abstracts, reading, travelling, photography and cooking. Recalling her first sector solo sortie in night, on a Kiran aircraft, Mohana says she witnessed lightning from close quarters, frightening her for a moment. “I immediately initiated rejoin and during descent I encountered clouds. I faced difficulty in discerning between the stars in the dark sky above and the small clusters of light on the dark ground beneath. Soon I realised that I was not able to maintain any connection between instruments and the visual indications of aircraft attitude,” recalls Mohana. She said she recalled what her instructor taught her to ‘not to make any unnecessary head movements, switch over to instruments, trusting them.’ “These words echoed in my head, I disregarded the visual indications and continued descent to a lower altitude relying totally on instruments. Once visual with the ground, I got oriented and recovered the aircraft safely,” says Mohana.
While women pilots have been flying helicopters and transport aircraft since 1991 in the IAF, it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who finally took the decision to open the cockpits of fighter aircraft for women. There was some reluctance initially but the IAF is now going all out to make this experiment a success.
“This is a learning experience for us. This is the first time we will be putting women cadets in the fighter aircraft cockpit. There are lessons for all of us. We will benefit from these experiences,” sources in the IAF headquarters said.
The three women cadets have undergone the mandatory 55 hours of flying on Stage I trainer — the Pilatus PC 7 basic trainer. They are currently undergoing Stage II training on the Kiran Mark II. Once they clear this stage, they will graduate to the Advanced Jet Trainers (AJT) for fighter flying training.
“The IAF will get its first woman fighter pilot on June 18, 2016,” Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, chief of air staff announced to thunderous applause addressing a seminar on women in uniform – on the occasion of International Women’s Day. The women cadets will have to clear every physical, mental and psychological test to be cleared for flying fighter jets
June 18, these flight cadets will become commissioned as India’s first women fighter pilots.
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