Three Women Pilots Commissioned Into IAF Fighter Squadron


Hyderabad: Flying Cadets Avani Chaturvedi, Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh created history on Saturday by becoming the first three women pilots to be commissioned in the fighter squadron of the Indian Air Force. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar reviewed the passing out parade at the IAF Academy in Hakimpet in Telangana.

The three will now undergo advanced training for one year on Hawk aircraft in Bidar in Karnataka and would enter a fighter cockpit by June 2017. They will be going to Bidar in June for their stage-III training for a year on Hawk advanced jet trainers, before they get to fly supersonic warplanes.

Six women cadets were competing to become fighter pilots after the government, in a landmark move, approved an IAF plan in October to induct them as fighter pilots. However, only three trainees were selected for the fighter stream.

Flight Cadet Bhawana Kanth

She belongs to Darbhanga (Bihar) and was born and brought up in the Indian Oil Corporation Limited Barauni Refinery Township, Begusarai. Her father is an engineer in IOCL and is at present posted in Mathura (UP) while her mother is a home maker. She did her schooling from Barauni Refinery DAV Public School and completed her BE (Medical Electronics) from BMS College of Engineering, Bangalore.

An avid sportsperson, Bhawana likes to play badminton, volleyball as well as adventure sports like trekking, rock climbing, rappelling, rafting, among others. Her other interests are photography, cooking, swimming and travelling.

Reasons for joining the IAF

According to Bhawana it was her dream to fly like a free bird since her childhood which inspired her to join IAF.

“After clearing my Stage I training, I got the golden opportunity to opt for fighter stream, the best and the biggest thing that has happened to me and the best part is, it is just the beginning. It is my aim to become a good fighter pilot and fight for the nation and make my parents proud,” says Bhawana.

Flight Cadet Avani Chaturvedi

She was born at Satna (Madhya Pradesh). Her father is an executive engineer in MP government and her mother is a home maker. She did her schooling from Adarsh Higher Secondary School, Deolond which is near Rewa. Shen then completed her BTech (Computer Science) from Banasthali University, Jaipur.

Avani likes to play violin. She is a table tennis and likes to paint too. She was inspired by Army officers in her family and she had few hours of flying experience in the flying club of her college, which inspired her to join the IAF.

Flight Cadet Mohana Singh

She is from Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan. Her father is currently serving in IAF and mother is a teacher by profession. She did her schooling from Air Force School, New Delhi followed by BTech (Electronics & Comm) from GIMET, Amritsar, affiliated to PTU, Jalandhar. She likes to sing, sketch abstracts and read. Her other interests are travelling, photography and cooking.

Mihana says joining the IAF was a dream instilled by her parents and grandparents. “I wanted to carry on the family legacy of serving the nation by being in defence. As a Flight Gunner in Aviation Research Centre my grandfather used to go to different places on various missions. I wanted to live the same life. Flying was the best opportunity,” she says.