JAMNAGAR: On the occasion of International Women's Day, Avani Chaturvedi, the first ever Indian woman to fly a fighter aircraft solo, said that an aircraft knows no gender boundaries.
"The best thing to be in the aviation sector is when you fly an aircraft which is a machine, it does not know whether the person handling it is a male or female. it will behave in a similar way. Be it a boy or a girl they have to be equally competent and professional to fly an aircraft," Avani told ANI.
Further talking about her dreams to be a pilot, Avani said, "Since my childhood, I wanted to fly, I wanted to be a pilot. I wasn't aware of how to do it but I had a dream to fly like a bird."
"I have done my schooling from a Hindi medium school. The journey of being a fighter pilot has been about a lot of learning. I am still in the training phase of being an independent pilot," she added. "To make the 30 mins of sortie work you've to do a lot of groundwork, the contribution of the team that supports is immensely important."
In February, Avani created history by flying a MiG-21 bison in her first training solo sortie, in Jamnagar, Gujarat.
She is one of the three in the first batch of women pilots, besides Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh, who was inducted into the Indian Air Force fighter squadron on June 18, 2016.
Only selected countries, such as Britain, the United States, Israel, and Pakistan, have allowed women in the role of fighter pilots.
It was in October 2015 that the Government took the decision to open the fighter stream for women. Meanwhile, combat roles in the Army and the Navy are still off-limits for women, due to a combination of operational concerns and logistical constraints.
On December 16, 2017, two women from the second batch to enter the fighter stream of the Indian Air Force were commissioned after graduating from the Air Force Academy, Dindigul.
It was only in 1992 that the armed forces began recruiting women to streams, other than the Medical stream.