No gender bias in air

TOUGH LADIES

No gender bias in air

 AndreaThe elan with which women pilots are showcasing their skills at the ongoing Aero India 2011 makes gender divide sound like fiction. These female pilots are not burdened by their gender. Flying is all that matters and conquering the deep blue sky and roaring into it is what they want to do. In most of their cases, flying is a childhood dream and as kids, these pilots had literally toyed around with a miniature aircraft. Fascination for planes in many cases is older than that for cars and bikes.

Metrolife interacted with a few women pilots and also those women who work in the other sectors of the aviation and asked them what drove them and kept their energy soaring.

These women pilots have actually trained long and hard before they actually began flying a plane. They had to go through rigorous, laborious and rather rough training sessions just to strengthen their emotional and mental faculties.

Kavitha Prabhu, a flying officer says, it took nothing less than a year and a half to train on ground before she took to the skies. “I would like to fly just about every aircraft. I have always been fascinated by the fighter planes but women are not permitted to fly the fighter planes as yet,” says Kavitha and adds, “most people walk up to us and tell us that they’re amazed by our profession and never leave without clicking pictures with us.”  
Kavitha and Preeth. Preeth D Souza, another flying officer says it’s not as tough as it looks. “It’s the best profession. There’s something new and challenging to look forward to every time. You get a high when you hit the skies and that compares to nothing,” says Preeth.

Andrea Swank, a senior loadmaster with the C-17 US Air Force, says her job entails lifting heavy stuff, calculating the centre of gravity for take off and making sure the flight is not overloaded with cargo. Andrea says her job is surely a strenuous and a demanding one.

“But I still love it for I get to go places and meet so many different people,” says Andrea. She makes sure she eats right to keep her energy high all the time.

Vanessa. DH photos by Janardhan B KAndrea enjoys long flights because she gets to read books and listen to music as well. “We even bake cookies and cakes, and make pasta during flights. It’s fun,” she says.

Caporal chef Vanessa Dahmani, who manages the anti freezing liquid on a Rafale, a French aircraft, says she works under strenuous conditions. “You must have a lot of strength to lift heavy stuff. I make sure I do weights to build my muscles and push ups at least four to five times a week,” she says. Vanessa feels it pays to be emotionally and mentally strong in this profession.

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