IAF inducts first batch of women pilots to fly combat supersonics

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On a historic day for the Indian Air Force, the first batch of women pilots were inducted into its fighter squadron. The three pilots to make the cut are Avani Chaturvedi, Mohana Singh and Bhawna Kanth.

The passing – parade happened at the Indian Air Force Academy in Hyderabad’s Hakimpet. Defence minister Manohar Parrikar was present on the occasion.

The three women pilots are supposed to be in Bidar in Karnataka for a year for the training on Hawk advanced jet trainers.

The induction has reportedly been done on an experimental basis.

The Government, in a significant move, had approved the IAF’s plan to induct women as fighter pilots. Six female cadets competed to become fighter pilots. However, only three females were selected for the first batch of fighter trainees.

A proud moment for all Indians shall come in June 2015, when Flying Cadets Avani Chaturvedi, Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh entered the Indian skies and history books as country’s first female combat aircraft pilots.

For Bhawana Kanth who hails from Bihar, becoming a fighter pilot was a childhood dream. “I was never made to feel any different just because I am a girl. My parents always encouraged me to pursue my dreams,” says Bhawana.

For Mohana Singh, it is more of an extension of a legacy. “I come from an Air Force family. My father and grandfather have both served the Indian Air Force, although in non-combat roles,” Mohana tells.

Avani Chaturvedi who comes from Rewa (MP), feels no different being a woman, as far as challenges involved in combat role in air force are concerned. “For both sexes, the challenges are same. We have to compete like anyone else. And we also don’t expect to be treated differently,” says Avani.

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