Women are breaking into male bastions everywhere, and now the Indian Navy is set to get its first woman pilot.
According to a report in The Hindu, Sub Lieutenant Shivangi will earn her ‘wings’ on December 2, 2019, marking an inspiring journey from a Bihar mofussil to the cockpit of the Indian Navy frontline aircraft.
Sub Lt. Shivangi was first attracted to flying as a 10-year-old at the sight of a helicopter carrying a minister. She graduated in mechanical engineering from the Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology. Her interest in flying was whetted by a naval presentation made as part of the university entry scheme. She cleared the Service Selection Board (SSB) examination but had to miss out due to the lack of vacancies. In 2018, she cleared the SSB examination again and this time was recruited. She attended the 6-month-long Naval Orientation Course at the Indian Naval Academy at Ezhimala, and another 6 months flying the Pilatus basic trainer at the Air Force Academy.
Sub Lt. Shivangi learned to fly the Dornier maritime reconnaissance aircraft the Kochi-based Indian Naval Air Squadron 550, known as ‘Flying Fish’, the alma mater of naval aviation in India.
Sub Lt. Shivangi has logged around 100 hours of flying so far, with over 60 hours on the Dornier as part of the course. She will be put through another six months of mission-based flying in which she will learn to exploit the aircraft for its operational use. The bigger target, however, is to qualify for operating the P8I long-range maritime recce aircraft.
By the end of December, two more women pilots of the Navy — Sub Lt. Shubhangi and Sub Lt. Divya — will get their wings and join Sub Lt. Shivangi and three other officers for the Dornier Operational Flight Training.