Women pilots fly high at Aero India

Surya Kirans
The Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team (SKAT) of Indian Air Force (IAF) at Aero India. Photo: Onmanorama

Bengaluru: Women pilots flew high in the skies above the Yelahanka air base, as part of 'Women's Day' celebrated here on Saturday at the ongoing Aero India air show.

All-women crews flew the advanced jet trainer Hawk-i, single-engine turbine-driven chopper Chetak, Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH Dhruv) as part of the Sarang aerobatic team and the twin-turboprop utility aircraft Dornier-228 as part of the air display.

One of India's first three women fighter pilots, Mohana Singh, flew a Hawk-i at the air show, while the Chetak was flown by Flight Lieutenants Amardeep Kaur, Sindhu Reddy and Second Lieutenant Khushboo Gupta.

The aerobatic team of Sarang that comprised four Dhruvs, included one chopper piloted by Second Lieutenant Sneha Kulkarni. Squadron Leaders Kamaljeet Kaur and Shruti Chauhan flew the Dornier aircraft.

The Air Traffic Control (ATC) of the Yelahanka air base was also manned by four female officers on the occasion of Women's Day.

Five women paratroopers of the Indian Air Force (IAF) skydiving team, including Wing Commander Asha Jyothirmai, Wing Commander Sangita Paulraj, Squadron Leader Seema Sheoran, Squadron Leader Isha Gill and Flying Officer Tuhina Gaur shone in the sky as they skydived from an altitude of 5,000 ft, after taking off in a Mi-17 chopper.

Thousands of visitors were in awe as the five women paratroopers along with six men skydived and landed with ease.

India's ace badminton player P.V. Sindhu also took to the sky by co-piloting homegrown fighter jet, Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas of the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).

Women achievers in the defence and aerospace sector were also felicitated at the expo. The 12th edition of the biennial five-day air show, which started on February 20, will end on Sunday.

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