Avani Chaturvedi Current Affairs

Avani Chaturvedi: First woman fighter pilot to fly fighter jet

Flying officer Avani Chaturvedi (24) created history by becoming first Indian woman pilot of Indian Air Force (IAF) to complete a solo flight in a MiG-21 Bison fighter aircraft.

She had achieved this feat by completing half-an-hour long solo flight in Russian-origin jet in the skies over Jamnagar Air Base, Gujarat. The first solo flight is just initial step in exhaustive operational syllabus that transforms rookie pilots into full-fledged fighter pilots capable of handling high-voltage combat flying.

Avani Chaturvedi

She is from Rewa district, Madhya Pradesh and was born on 27 October 1993. She is posted to No. 23 Squadron (Panthers) based in Suratgarh in Rajasthan. She is from first batch of three women officers who were commissioned as fighter pilots in IAF. She has completed her training at Hyderabad Air Force Academy.

Prior to solo flight, she had undertaken flights in twin-seater training jets, accompanied by Qualified Flying Instructors of IAF. After completing her basic flying training on Pilatus aircraft at Air Force Academy, she had undertaken six months of training on Kiran trainer jets at Hakimpet, followed by year-long training stint on Hawk advanced trainer jets at Bidar Air Base.

Significance

This is a major milestone in training of a fighter pilot and first time Indian woman has flown a fighter aircraft solo. It demonstrates IAF’s enduring commitment to ‘Nari Shakti’. Three women officers Avani Chaturvedi, Bhawna Kanth and Mohana Sing were selected to be fighter pilots in June 2016 when IAF had agreed to induct women as fighter pilots on “an experimental basis” for an initial period of five years. Before 2016, women made up just 2.5% of India’s armed forces, working in mainly non-combat roles. Pakistan has about 20 female fighter pilots since Pakistan Air Force (PAF) began inducting women into combat roles in 2006.

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IAF creates history by inducting 3 women fighter pilots for first time

The Indian Air Force (IAF) created history by inducting 3 women fighter pilots for first time. These three women fighter pilots are Bhawana Kanth, Avani Chatuvedi and Mohana Singh.

They were officially commissioned as fighter pilots in the IAF in presence of Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar at a ceremony held at Air Force Academy, Dundigal, Hyderabad.

Key Facts

  • Avani Chaturvedi: She was born in Satna district of Madhya Pradesh. She had completed her schooling from Adarsh School in Rewa and BTech in Computer Science (CS) from Banasthali University, Jaipur.
  • Bhawana Kanth: She was born in the refinery township of Begusarai, Bihar. She had completed her schooling from Barauni Refinery DAV Public School and BE in Medical Electronics from BMS College of Engineering, Bengaluru.
  • Mohana Singh: She belongs to Jhunjhunu district in Rajasthan. She had completed her schooling from Air Force School, New Delhi and BTech in Electronics & Communication from Global Institute of Management and Emerging Technologies, Amritsar.

Background

  • In October 2015, the Union Government had decided to open the fighter stream for women on an experimental basis for five years.
  • These three women fighter pilots were inducted in IAF after all of them cleared the first stage of training in the three stages process. Now they have about 150 hours of flying.
  • Now in the second stage, they will begin advanced training on advanced jet trainer Hawks at Bidar in Karnataka. It will add 145 hours of flying before they actually get into the cockpit of a supersonic fighter in the third stage.

Comment

Women pilots were first included in IAF for choppers and transport aircrafts in 1991. At present, combat roles for women in the Indian Army and the Indian Navy are still off limits due to a combination of operational concerns and logistical constraints.

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