India - (IN)
Featured in this photo are India Section members, and pilot Captain Nivedita Bhasin on left and First Officer Chitra Bhakri on right along with the women cabin crew operating the AIR INDIA Airbus A330 All Women Crew flight to celebrate history on the occasion of International Women's Day, March 8, 2012.
INDIAN AIRLINES BECAME THE FIRST IATA AIRLINE IN THE WORLD TO OPERATE AN ALL WOMEN CREW FLIGHT IN 1985. The crew for that flight included Capain Saudamini Deshmukh and Captain Nivedita Bhasin on a Fokker Friednship F27.
INDIA SECTION TODAY
It was a week of excitement, exhilaration, with a mix of trepidation and nervousness thrown in, but one that gave us immense happiness and satisfaction.
Mireille Goyer’s Women of Aviation Worldwide Week Celebrations had caught my eye on more than one occasion and this year, we at the India Section decided to “Spread Our Wings”. The plan was to Celebrate History, Raise Awareness and Spark Vocations. It was an idea, waiting to take shape. Some of us have been Airline Pilots almost for three decades now and this was the right time to give back.
With more time on our hands as children have grown and fewer responsibilities at home, we roped in a few of the younger and new Ninety--Nines and embarked on a journey to reach the Stars.
|1) Mrinalini Devi, India Section 99 and Flight Instructor, giving Simulator rides
to the underprivileged children (lovingly called Angels) of Asha Kiran.
|2) Children loving the “feel” of sitting in a real airplane, at the Delhi Flying Club, New Delhi.|
|Airline Pilots of the India Section 99s from L--R:
Capt. Anila Bhatia Cheema--JetLite,
F/O Miriya Cheema--Air India,
F/O Reetika Dwivedi--IndiGo,
F/O Niharika Bhasin--IndiGo
and Capt. Nivedita Bhasin--Air India.
Over a period of 7 days, we succeeded in introducing almost 475 girls to flying and its related activities. Each girl received a certificate of participation and gifts for every event, in addition to refreshments packets every day.
These special children are really “God’s own children” who warmed our hearts with their beautiful smiles, the memories of which are etched deep in our minds and hearts and we can’t help but look forward to next year. To read more about this week go to https://www.ninety-nines.org//userfiles/file/Article%20and%20Photos.pdf
INDIA SECTION HISTORY
In 1928, three years before the birth of civil aviation in India, the first club opened at Bombay to civilians. Aviation, still at its infancy, was male oriented and only a few daring ladies ventured to wing their way across the Indian skies. Lady Dinshaw Petit and Rodahben Sawhney sisters of J.R.D.Tata, the father of civil aviation in India, took to flying for fun.
Although a few women were members of Bombay Flying Club, they were unknown to each other. A chance visit in 1966 by Isbelle McCrae, an American Ninety-Nine, triggered off the idea to form an association. In 1967, Chanda Budhabhatti, founder, President Rabia Futehally and Mohini Shroff with Mangala Joshi, Kumudini Rawal and Dr. Sunila Bhajekar formed the Indian Women Pilots' Association, a non-profit body with its headquarters in Mumbai - the fifth national association of its kind in the world. The current strength of the association is over 200 nationwide.
The members come from different walks of like life - airline pilots, flight instructors, flight dispatchers, air traffic controllers, engineers, airport managers, doctors, lawyers, agro pilots, balloonists, sky divers, helicopter pilots, business women, teachers, executives, housewives, etc. The membership is extremely broad based which include women with special interest in aviation including students and corporate members.
The purpose is to foster, promote and facilitate the awareness, education and development of aerospace to all, men and women, especially amongst women. They hold seminars, conferences, congresses, independently as well as with national aviation organizations like Aeronautical Society of India, Aero Club of India and Federations of Indian Pilots.
Other projects include holding essay competition in schools, doing work shops, arranging visits to flying clubs and control towers.
The Association gives trophies in flying competition - with a special trophy for spot landing. To encourage women, the IWPA gives scholarships to deserving and under privileged women for their advance training in flying.
In 1977, IWPA went international and formed the India Section of The Ninety-Nines, Inc., International Organization of Women Pilots to facilitate and exchange experiences and ideas over the sub-continent and over the world. Chanda Budhabhatti, Rabia Futhally and Mohini Shroff were the members of The Ninety-Nines from 1966 and they helped to form an India Section, a part of twenty geographical Sections of The Ninety-Nines.
In the early years between 1929 and 1980, there were a handful of women pilots scattered all over India. The 1980's proved to be a breakthrough reflecting sustained and patient work of the founding members of IWPA over two decades. Since then women have gotten into various aviation fields like airline pilots, air force flight officers, coast guard pilots, flight dispatchers, engineers, air traffic controllers, airport managers, flight information centre, meteorology department, flight safety officers, etc.
In 1985, Director General of Aviation issued 153 private licenses and seven commercial pilot's license to women.
In 1986, the IWPA organized the "World Aviation, Education & Safety Congress" sponsored by The Ninety-Nines, Inc. and Aero Club of India in Delhi. This Congress was the first of its kind in Asia and was inaugurated by then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Over 300 delegates from different parts of the world participated in the Congress. It was a great success with having world renowned speakers deliberating on various aviation related topics.
In 1994, the Second Congress was inaugurated by Air Chief Marshal S.K. Kaul, IAF, in Bombay, which had speakers like Lt. Manja Block, world's first woman F-16 fighter from Holland, Capt. Suzanna Darcy-Hennemann, first woman test pilot of Boeing and aviator, author and actor Cliff Robertson.
Indian Airline women pilots set world records - Capt. Saudamini Deshmukh flew all women crews IATA schedule flights in 1985 and in 1990 Capt. Nivedita Bhasin, at the age of 26, became the world's youngest female pilot of the Boeing 737.
After fifteen years of persuasion, the Air Force opened its doors to women pilots. As of today there are sixteen helicopter and seventeen transport pilot officers, a few of them making history.
With the efforts of President Chanda Budhabhatti, the IWPA has promoted India's progress in aviation and space technology and of outstanding pilots - by getting permanent space to display artifacts and exhibits of photographs at aviation museums in the United States -- the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona, the San Diego Aviation Museum in California, the 99s Museum of Women Pilots in Oklahoma and the International Women's Air & Space Museum in Ohio. The engraved plaques of Mr. JRD Tata, Mr. Rajiv Handhi and Vijaypat Singhania have been placed in their honour in at the International Forest of Friendship's Memory Lane in Atchison, Kansas.
Since 1929, Indian women's contribution in the field of aviation has been outstanding. Having concluded the 50 years of Indian Independence Celebrations, the Government of India released the Commemorative Special Stamp of "Indian Women Pilots" to honour them on October 5, 1998 - the day that Indian Women Pilots' Association held their First Annual General Meeting in 1968.
In November 2000, the 3rd World Aviation and Safety Congress was held in Khatmandu, Nepal. The high authorities of Nepal Government took an active part in the Congress Session. The Congress was a huge success. The women pilots of Nepal joined The Ninety-Nines organization and the Nepal Section was formed with special ceremony.
In November 2002, the India Section of The Ninety-Nines, the Indian Women Pilots' Association along with the Aeronautical Society of India for the FIRST time organized an International Conference of "WOMEN IN AVIAION". Five 99s USA speakers participated along with India's women pilots, engineers, designers, air traffic controllers, Indian and Air India Airlines pilots and managers, Indian Air Force and Navy pilots, medical officers and controllers addressed the august gathering. Indian media, TV and press covered the three day event. There were 300 participants from various aviation fields of India who attended the Conference. Needless to say, the Conference was a great success.
In November 2003, the IWPA proudly joined hands with Nehru Science Centre to establish an Aerospace Hall at their centre in Mumbai. This is the first of its kind in the sub-continent.
The Aerospace Hall is a major addition to the Nehru Science Center. It enables people to evaluate the tremendous contribution aeronautics has made to the world past, present and future. There was a great need in India for a special hall of aviation and space technology - an ideal location is Nehru Science Center, to educate our younger generation as well as adults. Over 2,000 visitors per day, mostly students will have added benefit to witness artifacts, models, history of aviation and galaxy of outstanding aviators and aviatrixes from civil and air force as their role model.
India Section is actively promoting 99s aims and objectives in India and throughout the world.