Indian Air Force: Women to fly vintage planes


New Delhi: Women empowerment is one of India’s prime concerns currently. The Indian Air force (IAF) has contributed its fair share by recently sanctioning women to fly combat missions by June 2017, according to India’s Ministry of Defense.

This progressive step is in keeping with the aspirations of Indian women and is in line with contemporary trends in armed forces of developed nations.

In an attempt to greet a British-women pilot, who is on a 13,000-mile solo flight from Farnborough in the UK to Sydney, in a vintage bi-plane, IAF decided to let women fly vintage Tiger Moth and Harvard planes. Though they would be co-pilots and won’t be flying solo.

The British women pilot, Tracey Curtis-Taylor, 53, is expected to touch down in New Delhi on November 24, in her 1942 Boeing Stearman Spirit of Artemis aircraft.

She is attempting to recreate the epic journey made by Amy Johnson who became the first woman to fly solo from Britain to Australia 85 years ago.

This decision has taken place to commemorate one of the greatest solo achievements by a women in history -– Johnson’s 1930 flight. IAF decided to celebrate this occasion with the vintage plan as they represent that era.

A senior Air Force officer said, “If all goes as planned, two women pilots will fly in the Tiger Moth and Harvard planes of the vintage flight.”

Women pilots have been flying transport aircraft and helicopters and now they are inducted to fly fighter stream to meet the aspirations of young women in India. This has bought IAF women in the forefront after the Modi government approved an IAF plan on October 24, that would allow them to fly combat aircraft from June 2017, a turning point in the IAF’s 83-year history.

Undoubtedly, it’s not a difficult task to fly vintage planes as co-pilots as withstanding G-forces — up to nine times the force of gravity — in a supersonic fighter. Nonetheless, an opportunity of this sought is something that even the veterans would wish for.

Curtis-Taylor would have flown across 23 countries, making 50 refueling stops including one in Pakistan, by the time she finally arrives in Sydney in January 2016. From India, she will travel on to Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia before flying across the Timor Sea to Australia.