Father-Daughter Military Pilots Celebrate ‘First’ Flight


Parent and child pilots on airliners are relatively common but the Indian air force may have scored a first with a father-daughter formation flight. Air Commodore Sanjay Sharma and his 24-year-old daughter Ananya achieved the distinction on May 30. “The father-daughter duo created history on 30 May 2022, when they flew in the same formation of Hawk-132 aircraft at Air Force Station Bidar, where Flying Officer Ananya Sharma is undergoing her training before she graduates onto faster and more superior fighter aircraft of the IAF,” an air force news release said.

The air force is claiming a first for the flight but the Air Commodore called it years ago according to his daughter. “As a child, I would often ask my father why there were no women fighter pilots. He would tell me in his characteristic style—Don’t worry, you will be one,” she told the Times of India. The Indian air force now has 15 female fighter pilots flying MiG-21s, Sukhoi-30MKIs and Rafales.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

Other AVwebflash Articles


  1. Good, more of an advance in India than Canada/US/… given its treatment of females.

    I don’t know it its main religion discriminates – religions often do, some fundamentalist Christians in North America believe a female should not be an engineer for example.

    India is far better than most of the world but still quite deficient in freedoms.

        • OK.

          Definitely are.

          I like to tell of Marg Fane who told us at a dinner table that she almost always had work on the variable BC coast because she was qualified as stewardess, dispatcher, and pilot. All tough jobs on the BC coast – bushed loggers, weather forecasting (PW’s were good), and flying in weather.

          I knew Gretchen Matheson who ran the Pacific Flying Club, she’s in the Hall of Fame in Wetaskawin AB.

          • And aviation people should remember:
            – Mimi Johnson, F/O in the Aloha fliptop B737. She became a Captain, I regret not going to her talk in Tacoma WA decades ago.
            – Candace Loving, lost in the crash of a DC9 type airplane in FL due fire from dangerous cargo that mx people had shipped. (Loving is her husband’s last name.)

            Females are out there flying and dying, such as the one in SE Asia who learned the hard way why the shortcut she took was not approved – too much risk of path variation putting the flight into terrain.

  2. I doubt the Hindu source quoted is clear and supportive, few if any religions are.

    Note that there are other religions in India, Sikh is especially noteworthy from their productivity and fights with the central government of India, though they are a small proportion of India’s population. Worldwide it is a large religion, probably a mush of Islam and Hindu given its roots in Pakistan.

    • Correction:
      25 million adherents is not much but it is classified as fifth largest in world, may depend on definitions as there are a zillion sects of religions all claiming to the the truth. Most live in the Punjab area of India-Pakistan-China which they want to be a separate country.

      • The referenced passage in the veda goes thus:

        “O groom – this bride will protect your entire family.”

        This little 24 year old girl will protect multitudes of entire families in her totally kickass supersonic jet when she finishes training. That would not happen if Timothy’s advice was applied.

        It’s possible to read statistics and repeat recorded knowledge but if you want to really learn about another culture, get yourself into a relationship with a member of that culture. You’ll learn things of remarkable substance you will never read. That’s what I did – in this case, a woman of Desi culture, who, incidentally, through the Indian practice of Gotra could track her ancestry back to Guru Tegh Bahadur, ninth of the ten original gurus of the Sikh religion, who was murdered by the Mughal emperor for refusing to order his followers to convert to Islam. So your opinion of the “mush” you reference does not stand up.

        You can research that bit of history, but that’s history. Culture lives in the present day, And in the Indian subcontinent, hundreds of religions – and languages – coexist in an impressive harmony. Because most religions with origins in that part of the world take the view that nothing humans perceive and relate about the Divine is absolute nor comprehensive.

        Yet two people can find more similarities than differences when it’s a one-on-one basis, no matter what cultural and genetic backgrounds have come together. We had some big laughs reading a comical “You might be Desi…” article, along the lines of Jeff Foxworthy’s “You might be a redneck…” Time after time I had to say “OMG – That’s MY family!” -which has diverse roots but nothing from the Indian subcontinent.