Avani Chaturvedi Becomes India’s First-ever Woman to Fly MiG-21 Solo; She Always Wanted to be Like Kalpana Chawla, Says Her Mother
Avani, who comes from a small town named Deoland in Madhya Pradesh's Rewa, was always fascinated with flying and like numerous of girls across the country, Kalpana Chawla, the first woman of Indian origin to go on a space mission, was her inspiration.
New Delhi, Feb 22: Dressed in G-suit, IAF’s flying officer Avani Chaturvedi climbed up to the cockpit of a MiG-21 Bison jet parked at the Jamnagar base earlier this week. Moments after that she was behind the controls of the fighter jet considered to be one of the best in the world. Avani Chaturvedi’s 30-minute sortie on Monday (February 19) afternoon made her the first-ever Indian woman to fly a fighter jet solo.
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Avani, who comes from a small town named Deoland in Madhya Pradesh’s Rewa, was always fascinated with flying and like numerous of girls across the country, Kalpana Chawla, the first woman of Indian origin to go on a space mission, was her inspiration.
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“She (Avani) always used to say that she would become Kalpana Chawla someday,” her mother Savita told Zee Media. Avani’s mother revealed that her daughter had kept the news of her appearing for IAF exam a secret till the last minute. It was only after she received the selection letter, the news about Avani joining the IAF was disclosed.
#TouchTheSkyWithGlory : Fg Offr Avani Chaturvedi became the first Indian Woman to fly a fighter aircraft solo, when on 19 Feb 18 she flew a MiG-21 Bison aircraft in her first solo flight. The photo attached has been taken after her solo sortie. pic.twitter.com/nHWe4sgSmi
— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) February 22, 2018
Avani’s father, Dinkar Chaturvedi, is an executive engineer in the Water Resource Department of Madhya Pradesh government. Avani drew inspiration from her brother, who is in Army, to serve the country. Even in college, she had joined a flying club to learn the basics of flying an aircraft.
She did her schooling from Deoland and after completing her Bachelors in Technology from Banasthali University, Rajasthan in 2014, she even got a job with IBM. But she left the lucrative job for her first love – The Indian Air Force.
Along with Avani, Mohana Singh and Bhawana Kanth were included in the first batch of women fighter pilots in India. They were formally commission by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on June 18, 2016. Mohana Singh and Bhawana have also completed training to fly a fighter plane and will soon fly fighter planes. All three were given training in January.
With Avani’s achievement, India has joined the exclusive club of countries that allow combat flying to women. The countries include Britain, the United States, Israel, and Pakistan.
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