Indian Air Force flying officer Avani Chaturvedi completed her half-an-hour long solo flight in the Russian-origin jet in the skies over Jamnagar Air Base to become the first Indian woman pilot of the Indian Air Force to complete a solo flight in a MiG-21 Bison fighter aircraft.

Back in 2016, three female pilots – Avani Chaturvedi, Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh made history by becoming first females to be inducted in the Indian Air Force fighter squadron. With great pride, the list of ‘first in India’ just got better – thanks to Indian Air Force flying officer Avani Chaturvedi who completed the half-an-hour long solo flight in Russian jet MiG-21 Bison from the Jamnagar Air Base. With the completion of the solo-flight, she became the first Indian woman to fly a fighter jet solo. The history making event will prove to be a “major milestone in training of a fighter pilot and first time an Indian woman has flown a fighter aircraft solo. It demonstrates IAF’s enduring commitment to ‘Nari Shakti'”.

As mentioned above, Chaturvedi was commissioned in No. 23 Squadron (Panthers), is from the first batch of three women officers who were commissioned as fighter pilots in the IAF in June 2016. Then she undertook flights in twin-seater training jets, accompanied by Qualified Flying Instructors of the IAF. After completing her basic flying training on a Pilatus aircraft at the Air Force Academy, Chaturvedi underwent six months of training on Kiran trainer jets at Hakimpet, which was followed by a year-long training stint on Hawk advanced trainer jets at Bidar Air Base.

IAF called this a significant moment as it signifies a breakthrough in providing a “real” combat role for women in defence services and maintain equality of women in IAF because we have not gone by advise to shield them. And Chaturvedi actually flew a MiG-21 “Bison”, an aircraft which is said to have virtually the highest landing and take-off speed in the world i.e. 340 kmph. This is the example of gender equality and that women can do what their men counterpart can and that there is no holding back anymore.