New Delhi, Oct 23: In a major development, the Indian Navy has operationalized the first batch of women pilots on Dornier Aircraft by the Southern Naval Command (SNC) at Kochi. Lieutenant Divya Sharma (from Malviya Nagar, New Delhi), Lieutenant Shubhangi Swaroop (from Tilhar, Uttar Pradesh), and Lieutenant Shivangi (from Muzaffarpur, Bihar) are the three women pilots of the first batch.
Lt Shubangi Swaroop, Lt Divya Sharma and Lt Shivangi
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 on 22 Oct 20. They were presented awards by Rear Admiral Antony George, VSM, NM, Chief Staff Officer (Training) of SNC at the event.
Amongst the three women pilots operationalized for MR flying, Lt Shivangi was the first to qualify as a naval pilot in December 2019. Lt Divya Sharma & Lt Shivam Pandey were adjudged ‘First in Flying’ and ‘First in Ground’ subjects, respectively.
These officers had initially undergone basic flying training partly with Indian Air Force and partly with the Navy prior to the DOFT course. The course comprised of one month of the 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.
Meanwhile, 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 Jun 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.