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Avani Chaturvedi creates history by becoming the first woman pilot of the IAF to take a solo flight
In a historic feat, on Monday, flying officer Avani Chaturvedi created history by becoming the first woman pilot of the Indian Air Force (IAF) to take a solo flight. She completed her sortie in a MiG-21 bison aircraft flying from the Jamnagar air base in a flight that lasted close to half an hour.

Another woman officer from Chaturvedi's batch who is soon going to undertake a solo flight is flying officer Bhawana Kanth.

Chaturvedi is from the first batch of the woman officers who had been inducted into the Indian Air Force on experimental basis. The batch has two other women pilots apart from Avani Chaturvedi. The three women officers were commissioned as fighter pilots in July 2016.

The batch has been selected for an initial period of five years. The third officer in the batch of three is flying officer Mohana Singh.

As part of her training, Chaturvedi had already been flying IAF jets but that was on the basis of a twin-seating. The latest flight was her first solo flight that she undertook, thus creating history, although she still has to undergo about a year of training before she can be deployed in live combat missions. The rest of the training includes learning maneuvering, tactical flying and night flying of the MiG-21 aircraft.

Induction of Chaurvedi and Kanth as fighter pilots reflects a real advancement towards achieving gender equality in the Indian Air Force which continues to be male dominated in the combat field. But the induction of Chaturvedi and Bhawna suggests that the wall is beginning to crack.

The second batch of women pilots has already been selected by the IAF and is presently undergoing training.

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