Friday, October 30, 2009

Prez to become first Indian woman to fly in Sukhoi

For once, President Pratibha Patil will don a G-suit instead of her trademark sari as she flies in a Sukhoi-30 MKI - a frontline fighter jet of the Indian Air Force (IAF) - next month.

Patil, 74, is expected to board one of the Sukhois based in Lohegaon, Pune, and will make history of sorts by becoming the first woman to fly in an IAF war plane. The President is the supreme commander of the Indian armed forces. "The president will be flying in a Sukhoi soon. It should happen by November end," a senior IAF official told IANS without divulging further details.

Patil, who will be following in the footsteps of her predecessor APJ Abdul Kalam, will be undergoing mandatory health tests before the sortie. The first woman President of the country, Patil would also become the first woman to fly in an IAF war plane. The air force currently has 784 women officers working in different branches, barring the fighter stream. Earlier, Kalam, the father of the Indian missile programme, had taken a ride in a submarine in 2006 and followed it up with a sortie in a Sukhoi the same year.


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