Published: 18th June 2018
Meet Meghana Shanbhag, the first woman fighter pilot from South India who is all set for her next-level training
Meghana completed her schooling till Class 4 at the local Maharishi Vidyamandir Public School in the outskirts of the city
Meghana Shanbhag, the first woman fighter pilot from South India and the sixth in the country, had always tried to channelise her adventurous spirit.
She started the Sri Jayachamarajendra College of Engineering (SJCE) adventure club while at college and participated in trekking, river-rafting, and mountaineering. Her fearless attitude led her to try para-gliding for which she took training from a coach who was a retired Air Force officer. When she was in her second semester of engineering, she took part in solo paragliding held at Quarry Beach, Goa and made a successful jump.
“I was inspired by the success stories of Mohana Singh, Bhavan Kanth, and Avani Chaturvedi, who are some of India’s foremost women fighter pilots, which led to my decision on entering the Air Force. I cleared the Air Force Common Entrance Test in my first attempt. I started flying the Pilatus in 2017. My memory of flying for the first time was unforgettable. It doesn’t matter how different or big our dreams are, they must be chased,” she said.
Meghana completed her schooling till Class 4 at the local Maharishi Vidyamandir Public School in the outskirts of the city. From Class 5 to PU II, she studied at Little Rock Indian Public School at Brahmavar.
Later, she joined Sri Jayachamarajendra College of Engineering (SJCE) in Mysuru to study engineering in
Meghana is the daughter of M K Ramesh, a lawyer, and Shobha, president of Udupi Consumer Council court. Her brother Nirnay Shanbhag will be joining Symbiosis Institute of Law Education in Pune soon.
“Her march during the passing-out parade in Dundigal filled us with pride,” said Ramesh, Meghana’s father. “We have and will always support her.”
Hailing from the tiny village of Marle of Kasaba taluk, Meghana received the honour at the Combined Graduation Parade held at Dundigal Air Force Academy on Saturday.
Fighter pilot to move to next level training
Flying Officer Meghana Shanbhag, who is currently in Bengaluru, chose to spend her day with her friends. Meghana who has completed her Stage I training in Pilatus and Kiran trainer aircraft will now be moving on to next level training at the IAF base in Bidar. She will be trained along with newly recruited men and women pilots on the British Hawk aircraft.