Mig moment for women fighter pilots
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’