Avani Chaturvedi’s career in Indian Aviation has secured her place in history. The 27-year-old female pilot is currently undergoing rigorous training to become the part of Rafale Jet pilot crew. In 2020, she was awarded the Nari Shakti Puraskar by President Ram Noth Kovind for her contribution to women empowerment.
In 2016, owing to the policy change under the Modi government, Avani along with Bhawana Kath and Mohana Singh became the first batch of pilots to enter the Indian Air Force fighter squad. However, Avani Chaturvedi is the only Indian woman pilot to fly the MIG-21 fighter jet solo. In 2018, she was promoted to her current rank of Flight Lieutenant.
Avani Chaturvedi joined the Flying Club at Banasthali University, Rajasthan during her B.Tech days. She cleared the Air Force Common Admission Test (AFCAT) with flying colors and was recommended by the Air Force Selection Board (AFSB). In multiple interviews, she has credited her elder brother for developing her inclination towards serving the country. He is an army officer.
Training in 6 different fighter planes
After selection, she trained at the Hyderabad Air Force Academy to become a pilot. In 2016, she was inducted as a fighter pilot, where she completed various stages of physical training as well as handling fighter jets. In her address to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Avani Chaturvedi revealed that she is trained to fly multiple fighter jets such as Sukhoi, Tejas, Kiran, Pilatus, Hawk, and eventually, MIG-21.
While talking about her journey, Avani Chaturvedi never forgets to thank her parents for their relentless support followed by academy trainers for cultivating her mental as well as physical strength. In her interview with DD news, she said, “The journey has been full of ups and downs, but what we achieved after overcoming the problems is worth it.”
For a girl hailing from a small district in Madhya Pradesh, Avani Chaturvedi has become a symbol of women empowerment and strength across the world.