Flight Lieutenant Avani Chaturvedi became India’s first female fighter jet pilot along with her cohorts Mohana Singh and Bhawana Kanth in 2016.
In 2018, she created history once again by becoming the first female Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot to complete a solo flight on a MiG-21 Bison.
Hailing from a small town in Madhya Pradesh,the 25-year-old Officer decided to join the Air Force after an exhilarating experience in the flying club of her college.
She has always looked up to NASA astronaut Kalpana Chawla for inspiration and after the astronaut’s demise, she had comforted her mother saying she will become the next Kalpana Chawla. She was also inspired by the life and works of former President and missile man APJ Abdul Kalam, who would always exhort the youth to help the country scale new heights.
Chaturvedi was inspired to join the armed forces by Army officers in her family, including her brother, who is a lieutenant.
While pursuing her Bachelor’s of Technology, she took aviation as an additional subject at the campus aviation school. It was here Officer Chaturvedi’s keen understanding of aviation also recognised, and she was encouraged by her faculty to earn her wings.
After cracking the IAF exams – AFCAT, she was trained at the Hyderabad Air Force Academy for six crucial months. At present, Chaturvedi is posted at No 23 Squadron (Panthers), AFS Suratgarh.