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Cyrus Edwin

JWB Intern

Meet Ramita Choudhary: A Pilot Who Flies Bikes & ’Win-(g)s’ Beauty Pageants

  • JWB Post
  •  October 8, 2016


Remember when we were small we used to look up to the sky, at the airplanes, and say to ourselves, one day I will fly that thing? Well! Unlike us who kept on dreaming about it, somebody did reach the skies.

Didn’t I just warn you about her smile?

On the 84th National Airforce Day, we take off with the story of Ramita Choudhary, an Indian Airforce Pilot who is also in love with flying bikes. She is a reader, a party animal, and a traveler, and if you think that’s all, then you’re wrong. She has won a lot of Beauty Pageants and is sure to win-g your heart with her amazing smile.

ME: How did you develop an interest in airplanes in your childhood?

RAMITA: I don’t remember exactly when I developed an interest. But I remember when I was in school, I used to think that this was the best profession. I kept on asking my friends why everybody didn’t want to be a pilot.

ME: How easy or hard was your journey from a down-to-earth person to a cloud-nine girl?

RAMITA: The training academy definitely wasn’t a cakewalk. But if you have that interest towards flying then it makes it a lot easier to go through the drill.

ME: Yeah! That’s what I keep telling my friends. If you have the willpower of standing in the long queue, you Will get your Burger.

RAMITA: *Starts looking sideways*.

ME: Let me take you back to your AFA (Air Force Academy) days. How were the Ragdas (and just for the noobs like me, Ragda is the intensive hardcore training these guys get from the AFA)?

RAMITA: Now that I think of it, it doesn’t seem so intense, but yes in the academy it did feel like the end of the world. Being tired and hungry and dirty all the time; trust me, it wasn’t a great feeling.

ME: Tell me about your first experience. Was it nerve-racking, exciting or you were confident enough?

RAMITA: The first time I held my controls, I was with an instructor, so I wasn’t that nervous. I was really excited. But just ten stories later, I was flying that thing alone. The best memory will always be doing a solo spin in the trainer aircraft during our initial training. The more solos I did, the more confidence I kept gaining.

ME: How did your training period go? How different were the training for the girls and the boys?

RAMITA: An aircraft does not know the gender of the person on controls. So our performance was totally determined by how well we handled that machine.

ME: How many aircrafts have you flown till now?

RAMITA: It’s only been three years. But I have flown three aircrafts and more than 400 hours.

ME: WOW! That’s a lot; I too have banged my car for about 400 times now.

RAMITA: *totally ignoring me now*

ME: Also, I know that you always wanted to be a fighter plane pilot. But in India, women were not allowed to fly fighter jets until this year. How do you feel about it now?

RAMITA: Hahaha! Of course, I regret not having joined one year later. But flying a transport aircraft is equally good. I would be sitting here in the extreme northeast early morning, and by night you would find me partying in Bangalore.

ME: Whenever people think of a pilot, they think of a man, a well suited ‘guy’ wearing a smart hat and of course, the aviators. How did you feel when you wore your own uniform or the overalls as you guys call it?

RAMITA: I was always fascinated by these green overalls, with that wing on that chest. And I couldn’t help admiring myself wearing those. In fact, when girls say ‘I want to marry a pilot,’ I say, just become one!

ME: Ok. Enough with the skies, let’s get back to the earth. I heard you ride bikes. Tell us about it. How was your first bike-ride and who taught you?

Badass, huh?

RAMITA: Honestly, I don’t even remember learning it. I had gone to Leh, and I just wanted to ride it. So I started it and just didn’t stop. It was an amazing feeling. Thanks to my long legs, I didn’t even fall once.

ME:  I have also heard that you had won a lot of Beauty Pageants. How did that happen? What all competitions have you been in?

Navy Queen 2013

RAMITA: I never like to miss any opportunity that comes my way. I just take it and do whatever best I can do with it. These Beauty Pageants were also like that. I have won May Queen in 2009, May Princess in 2010 and Navy Queen in 2013

Coming so many things from a single person, I would like to call you, if you may, a Badass!

ME: As a part of the defense family, you are surely taught to be rigid and tough, so how do you manage to unleash this feminine side of yours?

RAMITA: A lot of people have this stereotypical image of fauji kids that they are only tough and rigid. But trust me; they are like normal kids, they too have a sensitive side just like everybody else.

ME: People stereotype girls into two kinds, one, a bossy kind and the other, a total princess. I believe you are a perfect blend of both. What’s your take on this?

RAMITA: It’s important to be balanced, but I consider myself to be extreme. If I dress up, I dress up like a bomb or not at all. But when I’m in my uniform, I see myself as just another officer doing her job.

ME: What message would you like to give to girls who want to break the glass ceiling, just like you did?

RAMITA: I don’t think I have broken any stereotypes. A lot of women are doing really well in their professions. But yes! Women should follow their heart and do whatever they like.

ME: Also, there is this stupid question that keeps popping in my head. Do you fly in your dreams while asleep?

RAMITA: It has not really happened yet. Now that you have said it, I’m definitely going to fly tonight.

ME: Now that you have reached the sky, what is your limit?

RAMITA: I don’t plan my life. I let it take its own course. Let’s see where it takes me.

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