Two IAF women officers became the first women pilots to participate in the Republic Day parade at New Delhi. Flight Lieutenant Bhawana Kanth became the first woman fighter pilot to be a part of an IAF tableau aircraft, light combat helicopter and a Sukhoi-30 fighter plane. The other woman, Flight Lieutenant Swati Rathore, got the honour to be the first woman to be part of the flypast over Rajpath as she flew a Mi-17 V5 helicopter in a formation of four choppers.
Flight Lieutenant Bhawana is currently posted at an airbase in Rajasthan. She became one of the three women fighter pilots to qualify for day-time combat missions on a fighter aircraft. She hails from Baur village and grew up in the refinery township of Bihar’s Begusara. She completed her Bachelor of Engineering degree at Bengaluru’s BMS College of Engineering in 2014 and joined Tata Consultancy Service before joining the IAF.
Swati Rathore on the other hand was born in a village in Nagaur district of Rajasthan. She did her schooling in Ajmer and joined the NCC air wing. As her dream was to become a pilot, she appeared for the IAF common admission test and got selected in spite of stiff competition. Both these women have made India proud at it’s 72nd Republic Day celebrations.