Sneha Shekhawat first women pilot to lead the Indian air force contingent
A record has been made in Thursday 26 January 2012 when Flight Lt. Sneha Shekhawat a women Indian Air Force(IAF) Officer lead a contingent of 144 airmen at the 63rd Republic Day Parade down the Raj path, New Delhi. Flight Lieutenant Sneha Shekhawat became the first woman to lead an IAF contingent in the 63 year old history of the RD parade. Sq. Ldr Shekhawat, who files’ IAF’s Avro Aircraft and is currently posted in Vadodara IAF base, wishes to fly the IAF’s leading fighter Sukhoi-32 MKI, She was the face of elegance and confidence as she led the 144-memberstrong Air Force contingent marching to the tunes of its band playing ‘Air Battle’. A woman pilot who flies non-combat transport planes like the Avro, Shekhawat was joined by three other women officers to lead the marching contingent down the national capital’s main thoroughfare. The other women officers are Flying Officer A. Chowdhary, who flies helicopters such as Chetek and Cheetah and Flying Officer Pooja Negi and Flying Officer Hena Pore, both from the accounts branch. Sneha is married to Squadron Leader Saurabh, who is a AN-32 pilot. He, too, is posted at the Vadodara IAF base. Sneha Shekhawat was selected in the NDA in year 2007 and received the Hyderabad Training Centre Award for the Best Lady Pilot. In 2011 she was second-in-command of the Air Force contingent at the Republic Day Parade in New Delhi. A year later she created that historic moment. Squadron Leader Shekhawat is the first and only woman officer to lead a marching contingent twice on Republic Day.
Talking about the dream
"That day will come. The aircraft knows no gender."
"During the Kargil war I had decided that I wanted to join the Air Force and I had applied for the exam. After I had joined the force everyone would come and tell me that I would never be able to fly after my wedding. I accepted the challenge and luckily was married to an air force officer."