Avani Chaturvedi: First Indian woman to fly fighter jet

Flying Officer Avani Chaturvedi becomes first Indian woman to fly fighter jet solo

Creating History: India's First Woman Fighter Pilot Flies Solo on MiG-21 Bison

"This is a major milestone in training of a fighter pilot and first time an Indian woman has flown a fighter aircraft solo", Indian Air Force (IAF) spokesman Anupam Banerjee said, adding that it demonstrates the IAF's commitment to women's empowerment. She made the record on February 19, when she flew a MIG-21 Bison all alone in her first training sortie, in Jamnagar, Gujarat.

A solo sortie is the first milestone for any fighter pilot.

Chaturvedi is inspired by her brother who is in the Army. Avani hails from Deolond, which is situated near Rewa in Madhya Pradesh.

With a love for playing the violin and painting, she joined the college flying club. "I want to fly the best fighter aircraft and learn more and more each day", Avani had said. Fast forward a few weeks, Avani Chaturvedi has done it! Yay!

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Chaturvedi completed her training at Hyderabad Air Force Academy. Days before being commissioned in the IAF in 2016, Avani had spoken to The Times of India about how she got interested in flying. She worked at IBM for a short while after graduating before quitting it to join the IAF.

The Indian Express reported that till about last week, Avani undertook flights in twin-seater training jets accompanied by IAF instructors.

She completed basic flying training on a Pilatus aircraft and then underwent six months of training on Kiran fighter jets at Hakimpet. Chaturvedi is the one of three female pilots who were commissioned into the Indian Air Force in July 2016. In 2013, the Pakistan Air Force revealed its first combat-ready female fighter pilot. Inducted in the same batch as hers were flying officers Mohana Singh and Bhawana Kanth.

Previous 2015, the IAF was never open to select the female candidates for the fighter stream, but later in October 2015, the government made a decision to open the fighter stream for the female category as well.

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