An all-women skydiving team is expected to be the showstopper at the upcoming Indian Air Force Day parade on October 8 at the Hindon airbase near Ghaziabad.
Wing Commander Asha Jyothirmai along with five air force women officers will jump off an AN-32 plane to mark the IAF's 79th anniversary, setting a record with their debut, an IAF official said.
Diving from 6,000 feet to 8,000 ft, the record breakers will hurtle towards the ground hitting speeds of more than 200 kmph before opening their parachutes. The free fall is expected to last 20 seconds to 30 seconds depending on the height the women jump from.
Skydivers can top speeds of more than 400 kmph in the head-dive position. The women will link arms and hold in formation during the freefall before opening their parachutes at a height of 3,000 feet.
The all-women team will be performing at the air show along with the IAF's 'Akashganga' skydiving team, a regular feature at both national and international shows.
Veteran skydiver Wing Commander Sanjay Thapar (retd), now director general of aero sports at the Aero Club of India, said, "It was high time for the IAF to have an all-women skydiving team. The sport is safer than riding a bike on the streets of Delhi." The IAF will showcase most of its platforms at the air display including fighter planes such as Sukhoi-30 MKI, Mirage 2000, Jaguar, MiG-29 and MiG-21 Bison.
Setting a trend
Recently, three woman officers successfully scaled the Mount Everest in June.
"Not only our women officers scaled the Mount Everest, they also took the second and sixth position in the International High Altitude Marathon held there," an official said.
Interestingly, the first place in the competition was secured by Corporal Raju Sindhu, who also successfully summited the Everest.
Flight Lieutenant Nivedita Choudhary, Squadron Leader Nirupama Pandey and Flight Lieutenant Rajika Sharma reached the 8,848-metre summit becoming the first three women IAF officers to have achieved the feat.