Flying Officer Avani Chaturvedi Becomes First Indian Woman to Fly a Fighter Aircraft MiG-21 Bison Solo
New Delhi, Feb 21: Flying Officer Avani Chaturvedi has scripted history by becoming the first Indian woman to fly a fighter aircraft solo — Russian made MiG-21 Bison. She took off from the Jamnagar Air base in Gujarat and successfully completed her mission on Monday.
On Monday, Avani’s instructor took back seat and watched her carefully just to ensure that she is getting everything right. The first sortie of Flying Officer Avani Chaturvedi lasted for about 30 minutes in a super-sonic MiG-21 Bison which is also considered to be a difficult aircraft to handle. The Russian made MiG-21 Bison is also the oldest fighter in Indian Air Force’s stable.
Flying Officer Avani Chaturvedi became the first Indian woman to fly a fighter aircraft solo when on 19 February she flew a MiG-21 bison pic.twitter.com/vgcDAuSerO
— ANI (@ANI) February 21, 2018
Avani was born at Satna in Madhya Pradesh and went to Adarsh Higher Secondary School in Deolond near Rewa. She did her B Tech. (Computer Science) from Banasthali University, Jaipur. She undertook sorties in a twin-seat MiG-21 Type 69 trainer with a qualified fighter instructor (QFI) at the Suratgarh airbase. (Also Read: Meet India’s First Women Air Force Pilots, Can Face Challenge Like Men, Says Women Pilots, Women Pilots Get Honoured by President Ram Nath Kovind, IAF Chief Says Force Ready for Two Front War )
In July 2016, three women pilots –Avani Chaturvedi, Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh –were commissioned as flying officers, less than a year after the government decided to open the fighter stream for women on an experimental basis. Till 2016 fighter stream was male domain.
Bhawna, Avani and Mohana graduated from the Air Force Academy (AFA) in Dundigul near Hyderabad, the premier training centre of the Indian Air Force, in December 2016. They had undergone their basic flying with Pilatus PC-7 aircraft at Dundigal before being sent to Hakimpet. The trio will also be trained on Hawk advanced jet trainer in early 2018 after they complete their course at Hakimpet.
Breaking the gender barrier, the Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat, too, had in 2017 announced that the process to offer combat roles to women was moving fast. The move will induct women on “an experimental basis” for five years initially.
In October 2015 government took the decision to open the fighter stream for women too. Meanwhile, combat roles in the Army and the Navy still dont allow women, due to a combination of operational concerns and logistical constraints.
It was only in 1992 that the armed forces began recruiting women to streams, other than the Medical stream. Countries like Britain, the United States, Israel, and Pakistan, have allowed women in the role of fighter pilots.
WHAT IS FOR AVANI CHATURVEDI AHEAD?
In coming six months, Flying Officer Avani Chaturvedi will fly the fighter to learn the intricacies of a fighter following which she then learn about tactical flying and how to use an aircraft as a war fighting machine. She will have to learn how to fight during the day. After that she will have to learn how to fly and fight at night all over again.