Hyderabad: Indian Air Force's wing commander Shaliza Dhami has become the first female officer to become a Flight Commander of a flying unit. She has clocked over 2300 hours of flying in her career. A Flight Commander is the second in command of a unit.
Shaliza, has been serving as a wing commander from the past 15 years. She has to her credit of being the first woman flying instructor and the first woman to receive a permanent commission of the flying branch. She has also taken charge of a Chetak helicopter unit at the Hindon Airbase in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh.
Born to parents who were government employees, Shaliza recalls a memory from Class IX when she wrote about becoming a pilot in her slam book. That is when she first thought of joining the Indian air force.
Recalling her first experience flying a chopper, she said, “I was at the downwind when I turned to ask my instructor to do a check and realised that I was entirely by myself. It was an indescribable feeling. I felt confident—and I felt grateful. By now, flying a chopper comes more naturally than driving a car. "At least nobody comes in my way,” she laughs.
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh Badal took to Twitter to congratulate her. He wrote, “Congratulations to Wing Commander #ShalijaDhami. You have scripted history by becoming the first female officer to be appointed as Flight Commander of a Flying Unit. Wish you the best for your future endeavours (sic).”
The Indian National Congress also took to Twitter to congratulate her. They wrote, “Congratulations to Wing Commander #ShalizaDhami, on making history by becoming the first female officer to be appointed as Flight Commander of a Flying Unit. We wish you the best. Jai Hind!"