New Delhi, Mar 17: Flying officer Bhawana Kanth became the second woman pilot of the Indian Air Force (IAF), after Avani Chaturvedi, to fly solo a fighter aircraft on Friday. She flew a MiG-21 “Bison” from Ambala Air Force Station at around 2 PM yesterday. Also Read - Govt Ropes In IAF, Railways To Meet Oxygen Demand, PM Modi Tells Officials to Increase Production
The “Bison” has virtually the highest landing and take-off speed in the world – 340 kmph. Also Read - IAF To Induct Second Squadron of Rafale Fighter Jets at West Bengal's Hasimara Air Base in April
Kanth hails from Darbhanga in Bihar. She was born and brought up in Refinery Township, Begusarai. Her father is an engineer in IOCL and mother a homemaker. She did her schooling from Barauni Refinery DAV Public School and completed BE (Medical Electronics) from BMS College of Engineering, Bengaluru. Also Read - Indian Air Force Recruitment 2021: Class 10 Pass Candidates Can Apply For 255 Posts, Only 2 Days Left, Here’s How to Apply
In an interview to a leading newspaper in 2016 she had said that flying “like a free bird” had been a childhood dream and this inspired her to join the IAF.
Earlier last month, flying officer Avani Chaturvedi scripted history by becoming the first Indian woman to fly a fighter aircraft solo. She achieved the milestone on February 19, flying a MiG-21 “Bison” from IAF’s Jamnagar base.
Avani Chaturvedi, Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh became the first women to undergo fighter pilot training in the IAF. They were commissioned as flying officers after basic training in June 2016 on “an experimental basis”.
With this, India has joined the exclusive club of countries that allow combat flying to women. The countries include Britain, the United States, Israel, and Pakistan.