Meghana Shanbogh graduated as Flying officer on Saturday and became sixth woman fighter pilot of Indian Air Force. Since her childhood, she desired to pursue this not-so middle-class dream of becoming a Flying officer.
Shanbogh who hails from Karnataka (South India) is the first woman to join IAF as Flying officer. She was born in Marle village in Chikkamagaluru of Karnataka and completed her initial schooling from her village. Then she moved to boarding school in Udupi to pursue engineering at Sri Jayachamarajendra College of Engineering (SJCE), Mysuru.
Meghana graduated from the Air Force Academy, Dundigal and have flown the Pilatus basic trainer and Kiran-MKI aircraft as well. The woman fighter pilot will now be posted in Bidar for an advanced training. She will be flying the Hawk in her advanced training.
Meghana told to Times of India, “I’ve always had a passion for adventures; I’ve done extensive mountaineering, rock-climbing and rafting. But I could clearly make my decision only after I took up paragliding, where I met a lot of people from the force. Their lives were inspiring and I immediately knew what I would become.”
While preparing to join IAF as a pilot, Meghana always dreamt to become a fighter and fate also supported her. At the time of making the decision of giving it a try at IAF, the air force was about to allow women into the fighter stream.
Meghana said, “Just before I got into IAF, the first three women were inducted into the fighter stream…Since the fighter stream was open, I knew I had to be part of it, and here I am.”
Meghana has flown IAF’s recent import the Pilatus and an old workhorse of IAF the Kiran. Now she will be flying Hawk under her advanced training and after gaining enough flying hours on the Hawk, she will fly a fighter jet. To fly a fighter jet, she may get to fly the Mirage but Meghana said: “I dream of flying the Rafale one day.”