The Indian Air Force Day is celebrated on October 8th to mark the date the Indian Air Force (IAF) was established. Sparkling air display by the latest aircraft is used to celebrate the Air Force Day parade every year.
Saina Nehwal has experienced the thrill of flying in an Indian Air Force aircraft. The Olympic medallist had the opportunity to fly back in 2012. She had flown in the ‘Kiran Jet Trainer‘, after taking off from the training academy in Dindigul, Tamil Nadu.
“It is a great honour. It was a dream come true for me to fly. Everyone in their childhood dreams of joining either the Air Force or Army. We dream of becoming one of them. I never thought I would get an opportunity to fly. It was such a great experience. This encourages me to do even better in badminton,” Saina had told reporters after the sortie.
Saina was briefed about the workings of an aircraft prior, including cockpit familiarization before getting into the aircraft.
Olympic silver medalist PV Sindhu has also flown in an IAF aircraft recently in February this year. She flew in HAL's Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas during the latest Aero India air show in Bengaluru. Sindhu was seen flying for over 30 minutes, as lakhs witnessed the air show. Sindhu sat on the back seat of the Tejas trainer aircraft and was accompanied by Wing Commander Siddarth Singh.
Aero India had a day dedicated to the women in aviation and defence forces. Sindhu was invited on this day by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
"I am very happy and lucky to be flying in the Tejas. I want to congratulate DRDO and IAF for the work they are doing," Sindhu had said afterwards.
"Sindhu adapted to the flight very soon, she pulled 5Gs during the flight. We did a steep turn and other manoeuvres during the short flight," said wing Commander Siddarth.
Currently, Saina, who is ranked 6th in the world, is facing VISA issues as she waits for her participation in next week’s Denmark Open. She finished runners up last year to Chinese Taipei's Tai Tzu-Ying. PV Sindhu will also be seen in action in this tournament. India’s top shuttlers have struggled to make a mark in the last tournament they played in.