India celebrates October 8 as Indian Air Force Day to mark the foundation day of the Air Force. Indian Air Force was established in 1932 and currently ranks fourth amongst the air forces of the world.
While the Indian Air Force is filled with the glory of war and male officers who brought the nation utmost pride and respect, the recent induction of women officers in the IAF has also witnessed some of the priceless golden moments.
On the 88th foundation day of Indian Air Force, here’s a quick bite on the female officers of the IAF who would go deep down in history and be remembered as the source of inspiration and pride.
Air Marshal Padmavathy Bandopadhyay, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
She is the first female Air Marshal of the Indian Air Force. She is also the first woman officer to complete her Defence Service Staff College course in 1978. Besides this, she is also the first woman officer to be promoted to the rank of Air Vice Marshal, the first woman to conduct scientific research at the North Pole and first woman officer to become an aviation medicine specialist.
Flight Lieutenant Nivedita Choudhary
She is the first woman officer from the Indian Air Force to summit Mount Everest and the first woman from Rajasthan to do so. Her teammates, Squadron Leader Nirupama Pandey and Flight Lieutenant Rajika Sharma achieved this feat five days later.
Squadron Leader Deepika Misra
She is the first woman aerobatics pilot of IAF. The Indian Air Force trained her for Sarang, the helicopter aerobatic team. She was one of the firsts to be inducted into the indigenous Advanced Light Helicopter squad.
Flight Lieutenant Gunjan Saxena
She is the first woman IAF officer to fly in a combat zone during the Kargil War. She is also one of 25 young women who formed the first batch of women IAF trainee pilots. She is the first woman officer awarded with the Shaurya Vir Award.
Flight Lieutenant Harita Kaur Deol
She is the first female officer in the Indian Air Force to fly without a co-pilot. She achieved this feat at a young age of 22 and created history by soaring at the height of 10,000 ft.
Flight Lieutenant Avani Chaturvedi
She is the first woman officer from the Indian Armed Forces to fly a supersonic jet fighter all alone. She is also the first woman combat pilot along with two of her cohorts, Mohana Singh Jitarwal, and Bhawana Kanth.
Flight Lieutenant Mohana Singh Jitarwal
She is the first woman fighter pilot from the Indian Armed Forces to fly on a Hawk advanced jet aircraft during the daytime. She created history by qualifying to undertake such missions.
Flight Lieutenant Bhawana Kanth
She is the first woman fighter pilot from the Indian Armed Forces who is capable of undertaking any mission during the daytime. She is also the second woman pilot of Indian Air Force to fly solo in a fighter aircraft.
Wing Commander Shaliza Dhami
She is the first female officer of IAF to become a Flight Commander of a flying unit. She is also the first woman flying instructor of IAF and the first woman to get a permanent commission of the flying branch.
Other noteworthy women in Indian Air Force’ history:
Flight Lieutenant Parul Bharadwaj (Captain), Flying Officer Aman Nidhi (Co-Pilot) and Flight Lieutenant Hina Jaiswal (Flight Engineer) are the country’s first ‘All Women Crew’ to fly a medium-lift helicopter.
Flight Lieutenant Parul Bharadwaj is also the first woman to fly the Mi-17 V5 helicopter.
Flying Officer Aman Nidhi is the first woman IAF pilot from Jharkhand.
Flight Lieutenant Hina Jaiswal is the first woman flight engineer of the Indian Air Force.
Sub Lieutenant Shivangi Singh is the first woman Indian naval pilot and first woman officer set to fly a Rafale fighter jet in India.
Stay tuned to know more about iconic women who shaped Indian history and the ones who are shaping it! #InfanoWomen #IndianAirForceDay