At the age of 74 years, Mrs.Pratibha Patil has flown in an Indian Air Force Fighter Jet- Sukhoi-30- MKI, on 25th November 2009.Mrs.Patil’s sortie, lasted for 30 minutes,taking off from the ‘Lohegaon Air-base’ at Pune. The Award winner- Pilot, Wing Commander S.Sajan was flying the Sukhoi flight.The Ex-President- Dr.A.P.J. Abdul Kalam,had created history, on 8th June 2006, at the age of 74 years, becoming the ‘first Indian President’ to undertake a 30 minutes sortie, in the IAF’s Su-30 MKI.Already in May 2004, the then Defence- Minister, Mr.George Fernandes had undertaken a similar sortie, clocking 1.15 Mach (about 1,500 kmph). Mr.Fernandes, who was also in his early 70s, was exposed to a gravitational force of up to level 3G.
The flight of Mrs.Patil in the ‘Fighte Jet of IAF’, will encourage young men and women of India, to join Air Force as Fighter Pilots and serve the nation.
It is notable that, at present the matter of induction of women in Indian Air Force as Fighter Pilots is under consideration. Women in the age group from 21 to 23 years will be inducted in Indian Air Force as Fighter Pilots, with a pre-condition that they should not have children up to the age of 35 years.
By this achivement of flying in IAF’s Fighter Jet- Sukhoi-30- MKI, Mrs.Pratibha Patil is likely to register her name in the “Guinnes’ Book of World Records”.