A batch of three trainee officers of the seventh Dornier Conversion Course (DOCC), including a lady officer, qualified as Indian Naval Aviators and was awarded the coveted golden “Wings” at a ceremony hosted at INS Garuda on Monday.

Vice Admiral AK Chawla, AVSM, NM, VSM, the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOC-in-C), Southern Naval Command was the Chief Guest for the ceremony who presented the “Wings” to the passing out officers, signifying their qualification as naval aviators.

As a tradition, the award of the ‘Wings’ marks the culmination of their one year of flying training at the Air Force Academy (AFA), Dundigal and Indian Naval Air Squadron (INAS) 550, INS Garuda in Kochi. Hereafter, these aviators will join the ‘Dornier Operational Flying Training’ course at INAS 550 from mid-January 2020, prior to joining an operational Maritime Reconnaissance squadron.

Sub Lieutenant Shivangi, a native of Muzaffarpur, Bihar was inducted into the Indian Navy under the Short Service Commission (SSC)-Pilot entry scheme and was part of the 27th naval orientation course (NOC) course at the Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala, Kerala.

SLt Shivangi, was commissioned into the Indian Navy in June last year. As part of her training, she has throttled Pilatus PC 7 Mk II, Basic Trainer at AFA and completed Dornier Conversion with the Indian Navy at Kochi. Furthermore, she will continue her training at INAS 550, the Dornier squadron at INS Garuda, to become a fully operational pilot on Maritime Reconnaissance (MR) aircraft. Sub Lieutenant (SLt) Shivangi creates history as the first woman aviator of the Indian Navy, on successful graduation from her course.

The FOC-in-C South Rolling Trophy for standing first in overall order of merit was awarded to Lieutenant Shivam Pandey.

(The writer is a Delhi-based independent contributor to print and online publications)