Navy’s first batch of 3 women pilots operationalised on Dornier aircraft

New Delhi (NVI): In a significant achievement, the first batch of women pilots of Indian Navy has been operationalised on Dornier Aircraft by the Southern Naval Command (SNC) at Kochi.

The three women pilots were part of the six pilots of the 27th Dornier Operational Flying Training (DOFT) Course, who graduated as ‘Fully operational Maritime Reconnaissance (MR) Pilots’ at a passing out ceremony held at INS Garuda, Kochi today, the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

On the occasion, Rear Admiral Antony George, VSM, NM, Chief Staff Officer (Training) of SNC was the chief guest and presented awards to the pilots who are now fully qualified on Dornier aircraft for all operational missions, the Ministry said.

The three women pilots of first batch are Lieutenant Divya Sharma (from Malviya Nagar, New Delhi), Lieutenant Shubhangi Swaroop (from Tilhar, Uttar Pradesh) and Lieutenant Shivangi (from Muzaffarpur, Bihar). These officers had initially undergone basic flying training partly with Indian Air Force and partly with the Navy prior to DOFT course. Amongst the three women pilots operationalised for MR flying, Lt Shivangi was the first to qualify as a naval pilot on 02 Dec 2019.

The course comprised of one month of ground training phase, which was conducted at various professional schools of SNC and eight months of flying training at the Dornier Squadron of SNC, INAS 550.

Lt Divya Sharma & Lt Shivam Pandey were adjudged ‘First in Flying’ and ‘First in Ground’ subjects, respectively. The Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (South) rolling trophy in memory of late Lt Simon George Pynomootil for the ‘Most spirited trainee’ was presented to Lt Kumar Vikram.

This trophy was instituted on 18 June, 2019 during the Diamond Jubilee Celebration of INAS 550 to immortalize the spirit of the officer who was a qualified Islander pilot and lost his life in a fatal air crash whilst serving the squadron on 17 May, 1985.

-ARK