The biennial Aero India 2019 expo, held at the Yelahanka base of the Indian Air Force, celebrated ‘Women’s Day’ on Saturday (23 Feb). The event which highlighted the achievements of Women in Aviation commenced with spectacular aerobatics by women aviators followed by the felicitation of women achievers in aviation. Sixty-one aircraft are on display and 403 exhibitors are participating in the Aero India show this year.

PV Sindhu co-piloting Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas

The highlight of the show was India’s top badminton player PV Sindhu co-piloting Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas. With this, she became the first Indian woman to achieve the feat. She is also among the youngest to co-pilot the HAL-manufactured fighter jet.

Describing her experience, Sindhu said she was honoured to have taken this flight. “It was definitely a great experience, great opportunity and I am really honoured. The captain showed me all the manoeuvers,” she said, as reported by NDTV.

IAF fighter pilots flew Hawk-I advanced jet trainer

Three women IAF fighter pilots flew Hawk-I advanced jet trainer of BAE Systems plc and an upgraded version of the Russian-made MiG-21.

Women achievers speak

Harpreet A De Singh, President of Indian Women Pilot Association, told SheThePeople.TV, “It is a true Bhartiya Nari Ki Udaan Shakti with women as pilots, engineers, controllers. This is a true way of showcasing Indian women and there is nothing that can stop them. We are trying to motivate more women to come forward in this field.”

It is a true Bhartiya Nari Ki Udaan Shakti with women as pilots, engineers, controllers. This is a true way of showcasing Indian women and there is nothing that can stop them. – Harpreet A De Singh

Captain Namrata Patel, who is part of the Indian Armed Forces said, “I am extremely honoured to be here and be felicitated. I owe it all to the Indian Army. I am also a diver and a mountaineer. I am thankful to them for giving me the strength to convert all challenges and obstacles into opportunities. I would like women to never say never and never give up. You are equally as human as men out there. Never fear to rub shoulders with them.”

Anuradha Reddy, aviation historian said, “It is very important that we document this history because the achievements of the past will go unrecognised and unknown for the future. It is the spirit of women of the yesteryears that take us forward. Women today have arrived at a stage where it makes me feel proud because my generation didn’t have these opportunities but I hope they will go forward.”

The five-day biennial air show will continue till February 24.  A book and film on ‘Women in Aviation’ will also be released.

Also: Aero India 2019 Bangalore Celebrates Women Power

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