IAF mulls gath­er­ing data on women pi­lots

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Rahul Singh rahul.singh@hin­dus­tan­times.com

The In­dian Air Force is ex­am­in­ing a pro­posal to gather data on the per­for­mance of its first fe­male fighter pi­lots, po­ten­tial dif­fi­cul­ties due to phys­i­o­log­i­cal at­tributes and cul­tural is­sues in the male-dom­i­nated mil­i­tary, HT has learnt.

The pro­posal, made by a lead­ing woman avi­a­tion psy­chol­o­gist and ac­ci­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tor in the IAF, is un­der con­sid­er­a­tion of the force’s cru­cial in­spec­tion and safety wing, sources said. (From left) Mo­hana, Bhawana and Avani are in line to be the coun­try’s first women com­bat pi­lots.

Three women are cur­rently tak­ing a shot at be­com­ing fighter pi­lots af­ter the gov­ern­ment ap­proved a plan in Oc­to­ber

last year.

“We pro­pose to carry out a lon­gi­tu­di­nal study cap­tur­ing ev­ery as­pect of fighter fly­ing,” said Kuhu Gan­guly, a se­nior sci­en­tist in the in­spec­tion and safety direc­torate.

“The idea is to track how well they are pro­gress­ing as they break into a male bas­tion,” she said. Such stud­ies can stretch for years as sub­jects are re­peat­edly ob­served on spe­cific pa­ram­e­ters.

The three women are in the fi­nal stage of their train­ing on Bri­tish Hawk ad­vanced jet train­ers at an IAF fa­cil­ity in Bi­dar, Kar­nataka. The trail­blaz­ers — Bhawana Kanth, Mo­hana Singh and Avani Chaturvedi — will be­gin fly­ing su­per­sonic fighter planes from June 2017, con­sid­ered a wa­ter­shed in the IAF’s 84-year his­tory.

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