Flying officer Avani Chaturvedi scripted history on February 21, 2018 by becoming the first Indian woman to fly a fighter aircraft solo.
She flew a MiG-21 bison in her first solo flight from Jamnagar base of Indian Air Force (IAF) in Gujarat.
First Batch of women fighter pilots in IAF
Flying officer Avani Chaturvedi belongs to the first batch of female pilots, besides Flying officer Bhawana Kanth and Flying officer Mohana Singh, who were inducted into the Indian Air Force fighter squadron in 2016.
They were commissioned as Flying Officers following the decision of the Union Government in October 2015 to open the fighter stream of Indian Air Force (IAF) for women on an experimental basis for five years.
Under this fighter stream, these three women pilots had undergone laborious training programme to fly fighter jets. The IAF has already selected the next batch of three women trainee pilots for the fighter stream.
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Women in Indian Air Force
• At present, around 1500 women serve in the Indian Air Force, of which around 90 are pilots and about 15 are navigators.
• Women have been working in IAF in seven areas including administration, logistics, meteorology, navigation, education, aeronautical engineering mechanical and electrical, and accounts.
• Earlier, the Air Force refused to allow women in fighter squadrons because of the fears of torture and rape, if they were shot down in combat.
Who: Avani Chaturvedi