Skies clear for Mysuru girl to become State’s second woman fighter pilot
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Skies clear for Mysuru girl to become State’s second woman fighter pilot

July 3, 2020

Mysore/Mysuru: Everyone has some or the other ambition or dream to achieve when they are in college but very few of them live their dreams or choose the career they wished. Mysuru-based Coluvanda Punya Nanjappa has achieved her childhood dream or call it passion to be a fighter jet pilot.

She has been selected for the training and once she completes it, she will be a fighter pilot, a rare distinction for a woman who has her roots in Kodagu, a land of defence personnel. Though the district has achieved the fame of producing a Field Marshal, a General and innumerable Lieutenant Generals, Brigadiers and Majors in the Indian Army and their equal ranks in the Navy and the Air Force, it is for the first time a woman fighter pilot is emerging from the tiny district.

In fact, she will be the only second woman from Karnataka to be a fighter jet pilot after Meghana Shanbough from Chikkamagalur and is the lone woman in her ongoing training course where there are 40 future fighter pilots.

Coluvanda Punya Nanjappa

Last year, Punya became the only women cadet from Karnataka to be selected for the flying branch training at the Indian Air Force Academy. The training for cadets who are selected for the flying branch is divided into three stages. Punya has already completed the Stage-1 of her training at the Academy in Dundigal in Telangana and has been selected to join the fighter stream where she will undergo Stage-II training at Hakimpet,  again in Telangana.

The training stages are vivid and is a combination of adventure, skill and deft manoeuvring. They will be trained to engage in air-to-air combat, air-to-ground combat and sometimes electronic warfare while in the cockpit of a fighter aircraft. Fighter pilots undergo specialised training in aerial warfare and dogfighting (close range aerial combat).

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After Stage-II, Punya will be commissioned as an officer to undergo Stage-III training. She is likely to be commissioned as an officer in the next passing out parade in December. Punya has always wanted to join the fighter pilot stream and her childhood dream has been realised. A resident of Vijayanagar in city, Punya was selected as a Trainee Pilot of IAF Flying Branch last year.

Punya with her batch-mates at the Training Academy in Telangana.

She is the daughter of Anuradha Nanjappa (a teacher at St. Joseph’s Central School) and late Coluvanda P. Bala Nanjappa (he was serving as the Manager of Prabha Theatre), native of Chambebellur in Virajpet taluk of Kodagu district.

Punya completed her schooling at St. Joseph’s Central School in Vijayanagar, pursued her PUC at Vijaya Vittala PU College in Saraswathipuram and Engineering at NIE, Mysuru. Punya then took up Air Force Common Admission Test (AFCAT) — an officer recruitment gateway in three branches of Air Force — Flying Branch (Short Service Commission only), Technical branch (Permanent and Short Service Commission) and Ground Duty Branch (Permanent and Short Service Commission).

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