Flight Lieutenant Bhawana Kanth became the first woman in the Indian Air Force (IAF) to qualify to undertake combat missions by day in a fighter aircraft. She is the first to complete the “day operational syllabus”, and was one of only three women to qualify for the fighter stream, the other two being – Mohana Singh and Avani Chaturvedi.
Women like Bhawana have broken barriers and made a place for women in the field. Though Bhawana has qualified to fly during the day, her gruelling training on the Mig-21s is not over, as she has to complete her course in night flying to become a fully operational pilot.
Kanth joined the fighter squadron in 2017 and made her first solo-flight in a Mig-21 in March 2018, becoming only the second woman to do so. Bhawana completed her Bachelor of Engineering in Medical Electronics in 2014. Her dream was to fly and she did just that by passing the Union Public Service Commission Combined Defence Services competitive examination and was subsequently commissioned into the IAF.