IAF to test President's fitness before sortie

“We have completely evaluated her health. She has been preparing for this for the last two months and she is medically fit,” Air Chief Marshal Naik told reporters here.

“She will be tested before she gets on board. Only if the President is medically fit on that day will she take the flight,” he said, when queried on the fitness of the 74-year-old President.

Patil is scheduled to fly the air superiority aircraft from Lohegaon airbase near Pune on November 25 as the Supreme Commander of the armed forces.

“Being the Supreme Commander of the armed forces, it is a matter of pride for the IAF that she will be flying one of our aircraft,” Naik said.

Asked if her flight would pave the way for IAF women officers to become fighter pilots, the air chief said “women can fly fighter aircraft and there are several civilian women who have done so in the past.”

He said Patil has been briefed and given a video-audio presentation on flying in a fighter jet plane by Air Force officers recently. “She will again be briefed on the day she will fly in the SU-30MKI,” he added.

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