IAF'S 'Sarang' gets women officers
Breaking yet another glass ceiling, two women officers have made their way into the IAF's much-heralded helicopter display team 'Sarang'.
Bengaluru: Breaking yet another glass ceiling, two women officers have made their way into the IAF's much-heralded helicopter display team 'Sarang'.
Squadron Leader Deepika Misra and engineering officer Flight Lieutenant Sandeep Singh made their debut in the 'Aero India' air show here.
It was during her passing out parade at Air Force Academy in December 2006 that Deepika Misra, then a Flight Cadet, first fell in love with the aerobatic displays by the 'Surya Kirans' and Sarang, IAF's fixed-wing and rotary-wing aerobatic display teams respectively.
She imagined herself flying some day in either of the formation flying teams. Back then however, it seemed an impossible dream but she never gave up hope and prayed hard.
She was commissioned in the helicopter stream and posted to a Chetak/Cheetah helicopter unit.
Women short service commissioned pilots were only permitted to fly these single engine helicopters then.
Deepika felt extremely lucky when in 2010, the IAF made a a major policy shift to allow conversion of women pilots to twin-engine category of medium to heavy-lift helicopters.
Having notched up nearly 1,600 hours on Chetak and Cheetah helicopters after her two stints at Bareilly and Udhampur, Deepika was more than ready when the opportunity came.
IAF had meanwhile also sought volunteers from amongst women helicopter pilots to join the Sarang Team.
She had no hesitation and promptly volunteered for the new challenge.