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First all-woman IAF skydiving team at annual Air Force Day


Indian Air Forces women skydiving team during a rehearsal for the 79th Air Force Day function in Hindon, Ghaziabad on Thursday. A PTI Photo.

NEW DELHI (PTI): The first all-woman team of six skydivers of the Indian Air Force will make its official debut on Saturday at the Hindon Air Base near here during the annual Air Force Day parade.

The team which underwent a two-year gruelling training in India and the US will jump out of an AN-32 transport aircraft at 0805 hours on Saturday and will go through a series of mid-air formations before touching down the tarmac.

"This will be the debut jump of the first all-woman sky diving team of the IAF. We will jump from a height of 8000 ft and touch down the tarmac seven minutes later during which we will go through star-formation in the sky," team leader Wing Commander Asha Jyothirmai told PTI.

Married to an IAF skydiver Wing Commander E K N Swaroop, and a mother of two kids, Jyothirmai joined the Air Force in 1997 in accounts branch and started pursuing sky-diving two years later in 1999.

"In the last 11 years, I have performed a total 560 jumps. Every member has gone through a series of tough training to build this team. The youngest member here has got two years of sky-diving experience with a total 135 jumps," she said.

After going through initial training in sky-diving formation at Agra and several other Air Force bases in the country, the team attended an advance course in free-fall and formation sky-diving at Sky Dive Arizona in US.

On Saturday, the team will give its first salute to IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne soon after touching down.

"We cannot express the feeling we are going through, but certainly we are not afraid. In fact, every member of the team is so used to flying like a bird that we keep waiting for the next round," Jyothirmai said.

The sky-divers in the team have been pulled out from several branches of the IAF such as technical, logistics, accounts and education.

While training has become an integral part of their daily lives, the team is eagerly looking forward to participating in forthcoming international events including World Military Games (WMG).

Besides, the women sky-diving team, the newly inducted heavy-lift transport aircraft in the IAF C-130 J, would be another major attraction of this year's Air Force Day parade.

"The C-130 J will participate in the fly-past along with fighter and other aircraft. After its induction early this year, this will be the first time the aircraft will fly in a public function," IAF officials said.

The special operations aircraft, which is based at Hindon, has the capability to take off and land at short runways and in different weather conditions.

Recently the aircraft participated in the relief and rescue operations carried out by defence forces in Sikkim after the earthquake there.

Besides air-lifting troops to carry out relief operations, the aircraft also transported medicines and special equipment of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).

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Air Force  IAF  Skydiving  

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