First batch of 3 women pilots to fly Dornier operationalised at SNC Kochi

The Indian Navy on Thursday operationalised the first batch of women pilots on Dornier aircraft at the Southern Naval Command (SNC) in Kochi.

The three women pilots are Lieutenant Divya Sharma (Malviya Nagar, New Delhi), Lieutenant Shubhangi Swaroop (Tilhar, Uttar Pradesh) and Lieutenant Shivangi (Muzaffarpur, Bihar).

According to SNC officials the three women pilots were part of the six pilots of the 27th Dornier Operational Flying Training (DOFT) Course.

AN SNC spokesperson said that the three pilots have graduated as fully operational Maritime Reconnaissance (MR) pilots at a passing out ceremony held at INS Garuda.

Rear Admiral Antony George, the Chief Staff Officer (Training) at SNC was the chief guest of the event.

He presented awards to the pilots who are now fully qualified on Dornier aircraft for all operational missions.

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 operationalized for MR flying, Lt Shivangi was the first to qualify as a naval pilot in December last year.

Navy said that the current 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 – Flying Fish.

Lt Divya Sharma and 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 in June 2019 during the Diamond Jubilee celebrations 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 May 17, 1985,” an official said.

Last month, breaking the glass ceiling Sub-Lieutenant Kumudini Tyagi and Sub-lieutenant Riti Singh were cleared by the Indian Navy to operate helicopters from warships.

The two officers had passed out of the Navy’s Observer Course from SNC and were among 17 officers who were awarded wings.