India has its first female offshore Pilot-in-Command

A pilot is a pilot irrespective of gender. But India got its first female offshore Pilot-in-Command.

While airlines operated flights with the all-women crew to celebrate Women’s Day, Pawan Hans Ltd (PHL), the public sector company that operates helicopters had its own quiet moment with history when its pilot Capt Mayuri Deshmukh became India’s first female offshore Pilot-in-Command.

“Capt Deshmukh has been flying Dauphin AS 365 N3 helicopter for Pawan Hans for over seven years now. She is the first woman in India to fly in command off-shore,” the helicopter operator said.

“She is also the only woman in the country flying helicopters in the offshore sector transporting the ONGC officials from Mumbai to the offshore platforms and oil rigs,” Pawan Hans added. PHL has 120 pilots out of which four are women, said a PHL spokesperson.

Unlike flying for an airline though, pilots employed with PHL operate flights for oil and gas exploration companies, police personnel, VIP flights, corporate flights and passenger transport in remote, border, hilly and inaccessible areas of North and North East India.

“Capt Deshmukh is a highly experienced and qualified pilot and also has immense exposure of flying across different terrains of the country which includes Daman and Diu and Andaman and Nicobar Islands,” said PHL.

Offshore helicopters transfer highly paid oil rig workers, engineers and executives to oil rigs and mobile survey vessels all over the world in the quest for “black gold”. In addition, pilots of these aircraft will often have to fly in all weathers to evacuate rig workers in emergencies or for compassionate leave.

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