Bengaluru: Pusarla Venkata Sindhu on Saturday scripted history by becoming the first ever woman to fly the home-grown Light Combat Aircraft Tejas.
Amidst cheering crowd and a battery of media, Sindhu wearing the green overall, took off at 12:10pm in PV 5, one of the Tejas trainers, from Air Force Station Yelahanka.
Sindhu walked to the Tejas with confidence and was smiling and waving at the crowd who had gathered at the static display area.
Around the same time when Tejas took off with Sindhu, a fire broke out at the air base's parking lot with thick smoke spreading closer to one end of the runway.
The onlookers were confused for a while when Tejas flew past the smoke spreading over.
After 31 minutes, Tejas piloted by Wg Cdr Siddharth Singh landed with the shuttle sensation. During the flight she pulled up to 5g (which means 5 times the body weight).
“Flying on Tejas was a great experience for me. It was a great opportunity as well for me. The pilot showed me all the stunts and even how a fighter performs during the war. Tejas is the real hero,” Sindhu said soon after the touchdown.
She said she is extremely happy to be the first woman to fly in Tejas.
“I am very happy to be the first woman to fly (co-pilot) Tejas. I will certainly remember this forever,” Sindhu said.
She said she was excited that the fourth day of Aero India is being observed as Women’s Day.
“I thank DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) and Ministry of Defence for giving me this opportunity. It’s a great day for me,” she added.
Giving details of the historic sortie, Wg Cdr Siddharth said he did some basic turns to start with.
“I wanted to see how she adapts. She was quick to adapt and then we did some rolls, hard turns and loops. We carried out some ‘attacks’ over a dam nearby. We pulled up to 5g,” he said.
Wg Cdr Siddharth said Sindhu was a good ‘pilot,’ and quickly adapted to the speed and height during the flight.
“She even flew for about five minutes,” he added.
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