Scripting history, Flight Lieutenant Bhawana Kanth Wednesday became the first woman fighter pilot of the Indian Air Force (IAF) to qualify for combat missions by day. She is from the first batch of women fighter pilots and the second woman pilot to conduct a solo fight.
Bhawana completed her operational syllabus to carry out combat missions on a MiG-21 Bison aircraft during day time. She had joined the fighter squadron in November 2017 and flew her first solo flight on a MiG-21 Bison in March 2018.
With roots in Bihar’s Darbhanga, Bhawana was born and brought up in Refinery Township, Begusarai. She completed her BE (Medical Electronics) from BMS College of Engineering in Bengaluru before joining the IAF. Her father Tej Narayan Kanth, an electrical engineer with the Indian Oil Corporation in Barauni told The Indian Express: “Bhawana was good at studies right from the beginning. She used to talk about flying from her school days. Even though she pursued engineering from Bengaluru, she kept trying for the Air Force. We are so proud of her. What else can a father ask for?”
She is from Baur village of Ghanshyampur block of Darbhanga, which she last visited in 2016. “We are neighbours of Manas Bihari Verma, who was part of the Tejas project. Bhawna was inspired by him,” her father said. She is the eldest of his three children.