The Indian Navy operationalized the first batch of women pilots of Dornier Aircraft by the Southern Naval Command (SNC) at Kochi. The three women pilots were part of the six pilots belonging to 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, on Thursday.
Lieutenants Divya Sharma, from New Delhi, Shubhangi Swaroop from Uttar Pradesh and Shivangi from Bihar are the three women pilots of the first batch. They 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 on 02 Dec 2019.
Their 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.
Rear Admiral Antony George, VSM, NM, Chief Staff Officer (Training) of SNC was the chief guest of the event and presented awards to the pilots who are now fully qualified on Dornier aircraft for all operational missions.
Lt Divya Sharma & 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 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.