Mig mo­ment for women fighter pi­lots

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES NATION - Ra­jat.Pan­[email protected] times­group.com

New Delhi: An In­dian woman will soon tear into the skies on a su­per­sonic fighter jet all alone for the first time in the coun­try. Avani Chaturvedi, Bhawana Kanth and Mo­hana Singh have al­ready scripted his­tory by be­com­ing the first-ever women to un­dergo fighter pi­lot train­ing in the IAF.

But the trio have only un­der­taken solo sor­ties in air­craft like the Pi­la­tus PC-7 tur­bo­props, Ki­ran and Hawk jet train­ers, which are much eas­ier to han­dle. Now, Avani and Bhawana are get­ting all set to fly the highly de­mand­ing and age­ing MiG-21 “Bisons”, which have vir­tu­ally the high­est land­ing and take-off speed in the world at 340kmph, by them­selves at their re­spec­tive air­bases.

“Avani is al­ready un­der­tak­ing sor­ties in a twin-seat MiG-21 Type 69 trainer with a qual­i­fied fighter in­struc­tor (QFI) at the Su­rat­garh air­base. Bhawana will fol­low suit at the Am­bala air­base soon. Mo­hana, in turn, is still with Hawk ad­vanced jet train­ers at the Kalaikunda air­base… She will also be posted to an op­er­a­tional squadron in due course,” said a se­nior of­fi­cer.

Af­ter “con­sol­i­dat­ing gen­eral han­dling” of MiG-21s in solo sor­ties, the pi­lots will grad­u­ate to tac­ti­cal fly­ing and ma­noeu­vres. This, in turn, will be fol­lowed by train­ing in air-toair and air-to-ground com­bat. Once they be­come “fully ops (op­er­a­tional) by day” on the MiG-21s, the night-fly­ing will kick off first in the “moon phase” and sub­se­quently the “dark phase”.

FLY­ING HIGH: IAF’s first-ever women pi­lots, Avani Chaturvedi, Bhawana Kanth & Mo­hana Singh. Avani and Bhawana are get­ting all set to fly the highly de­mand­ing MiG-21 ‘Bisons’

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