Meet the Three Women Fighter Pilots of IAF Who Take Flight on June 18

File photo of Avani Chaturvedi.

File photo of Avani Chaturvedi.

Flight Cadets Bhawana Kanth of Bihar, Avani Chaturvedi of Madhya Pradesh and Mohana Singh of Rajasthan will write their names in the IAF history when they pass out after the successful completion of training at the Combined Graduation Parade Spring Term – 2016.

On June 18, 2016, the Indian Air Force and three feisty women will create history during the Passing Out Parade at the Air Force Academy, Hyderabad.

The three are the first batch of Women Flight Cadets undergoing training for commissioning in the Fighter Stream of IAF Flying Branch.


Flight Cadets Bhawana Kanth of Bihar, Avani Chaturvedi of Madhya Pradesh and Mohana Singh of Rajasthan will write their names in the IAF history when they pass out after the successful completion of training at the Combined Graduation Parade Spring Term – 2016.

Below are the profiles of the three Women Flight Cadets:

Flight Cadet Bhawana Kanth

She belongs to Darbhanga (Bihar) and was born and brought up in the Indian Oil Corporation Limited Barauni Refinery Township, Begusarai.

Her father is an engineer in IOCL and is at present posted in Mathura (UP) while her mother is a home maker. She did her schooling from Barauni Refinery DAV Public School and completed her BE (Medical Electronics) from BMS College of Engineering, Bangalore.


An avid sportsperson, Bhawana likes to play badminton, volleyball as well as adventure sports like trekking, rock climbing, rappelling, rafting, among others. Her other interests are photography, cooking, swimming and travelling.

Reasons for joining the IAF

According to Bhawana it was her dream to fly like a free bird since her childhood which inspired her to join IAF.

"After clearing my Stage I training, I got the golden opportunity to opt for fighter stream, the best and the biggest thing that has happened to me and the best part is, it is just the beginning. It is my aim to become a good fighter pilot and fight for the nation and make my parents proud," says Bhawana.

Training Experience: First Solo Spin

Before opting for fighter stream lots of people used to tell us that, challenges will keep on increasing and so will the gradient, but it used to sound clichéd.

During our syllabus we were about to be introduced to spin in Kiran trainer, which I thought would be a piece of cake, as we had already done spin solos in the previous stage on Pilatus.

But the day we were introduced to spin in Kiran, we realised it was not the same. But time and again we were briefed that, if we take prompt and correct recovery actions, each and every time the aircraft will recover from spin. So the recovery actions became a part of my muscle memory.

Having cleared my spin solo check in Kiran now it was time for me to enter the aircraft into spin and recover it all by myself. At 20,000 feet the doubt started creeping in that what if the aircraft doesn't recover.

Then I told myself that if I don’t do it now, I will always be afraid of it. I spun the aircraft and to my surprise, the spin was more vicious or so it seemed.

But the fighter pilot in me took over and I told myself come what may I will recover. And all the recovery actions grilled in us during the training came out correctly and promptly and the aircraft recovered from spin and so did my confidence.

Flight Cadet Avani Chaturvedi

She was born at Satna (Madhya Pradesh). Her father is an executive engineer in MP government and her mother is a home maker.

She did her schooling from Adarsh Higher Secondary School, Deolond which is near Rewa. Shen then completed her BTech (Computer Science) from Banasthali University, Jaipur.

Avani likes to play violin. She is a table tennis and likes to paint too.

Reasons for joining the IAF

She was inspired by Army officers in her family and she had few hours of flying experience in the flying club of her college, which inspired her to join the IAF.

"I got selected for flying stream and subsequently for fighter flying. I got the golden opportunity to fly two different aircrafts, one very modern and advanced, and one stalwart trainer, with best of the instructors," she says.

"My dream is to become a good fighter pilot, on whom my seniors can rely on when it comes to fly for live operations. I want to fly the best fighter aircraft and learn more and more each day," she adds.


Training Experience

I was proceeding for my second solo sortie for the day. The time spent on ground was more due to a number of solos ahead of me in the taxi sequence; same was being exaggerated by the sun beating down heavily on us.

Finally I reached the Take Off point and took permission for T/O. As I started rolling for T/O, nearing the first marker I heard the Canopy Warning Audio coming on.

At first I got confused seeing the emerging situation.

However, the training which I had undergone helped me reach the decision almost immediately.

I aborted the T/O and took all the actions to stop the aircraft safely on the runway. While I was having lunch that afternoon, I reflected back on the incident.

That day I realised how the decision of a split second can get the situation under control or out of control. Had I delayed my actions that day of aborting T/O or got airborne with the canopy open, the results could have been catastrophic.

Flight Cadet Mohana Singh

She is from Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan. Her father is currently serving in IAF and mother is a teacher by profession.

She did her schooling from Air Force School, New Delhi followed by BTech (Electronics & Comm) from GIMET, Amritsar, affiliated to PTU, Jalandhar.

She likes to sing, sketch abstracts and read. Her other interests are travelling, photography and cooking.

Reasons for joining the IAF

Mihana says joining the IAF was a dream instilled by gee parents and grandparents.

"I wanted to carry on the family legacy of serving the nation by being in defence. As a Flight Gunner in Aviation Research Centre my grandfather used to go to different places on various missions. I wanted to live the same life. Flying was the best opportunity," she says.


"I aspire to make my parents proud of me by becoming a fighter pilot and fly the best of the fighter in the IAF. I dream of being part of the future combat missions and fight for the nation when duty calls for guarding the nation’s skies," adds a confident Mohana.

Training Experience

The night flying phase flying was new to me and it was the best thing that ever happened after coming to Kiran. I remember the small puffs of beautiful crackers bursting 1000 feet below me on my first take off in night flying phase, the ones I used to gaze from below and was amazed at when I was a child.

I was on my first Sector Solo Sortie by night on Kiran. While operating in sector, I witnessed some lightning close to me which frightened me for a moment.

I immediately initiated rejoin and during descent I encountered clouds. I faced difficulty in discerning between the stars in the dark sky above and the small clusters of light on the dark ground beneath.

Soon I realised that I was not able to maintain any connection between instruments and the visual indications of aircraft attitude. I recalled what my Instructor had taught me -- “No unnecessary head movements, switch over to instruments, trust your instruments”.

These words echoed in my head, I disregarded the visual indications and continued descent to a lower altitude relying totally on instruments. Once visual with the ground, I got oriented and recovered the aircraft safely.

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