Sri Lanka Air Force gets its first female pilots

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –Two female officers have been commissioned as pilots for the first time in the history of the Sri Lanka Air Force.

Air Force Spokesman Group Captain Dushantha Wijesinghe told Colombo Gazette that the honour was bestowed on the officers during the Commissioning and Wings Parade of the 61st Intake of Officers Cadets held at the Air Force Academy in China Bay, Trincomalee today.

Issuing a statement, the Sri Lanka Air Force said Pilot Officer ADPL Gunarathe and Pilot Officer RT Weerawardana became the first Lady Officers to be awarded the prestigious Flying Brevet and be the pioneering female military aviators of Sri Lanka for the first time in the history of the Sri Lanka Air Force.

The two female Officers were commissioned as pilots of the General Duties Pilot Branch for the first time in the history of the Sri Lanka Air Force.

The Sri Lanka Air Force further said newly appointed Pilot Officer RT Weerawardana created history yet again when she was awarded the prestigious “Sword of Honour” presented by Group Captain NR Raheem. The sword of honour is awarded to the Officer Cadet who has achieved the highest results in both academic and professional studies, and who has shown the best all-round performance throughout the course. This is the first occasion in the history of the Sri Lanka Air Force when a Lady Officer has been awarded the “Sword of Honour”.

Meanwhile, today also marked the first instance in the history of the Sri Lanka Air Force when a Lady Officer commanded a parade with the Presidents Colour. Pilot Officer RT Weerawardana had the honour of being the first Lady Officer to do so when she took over the parade as the new Parade Commander.

The event also saw the commissioning of 53 Officer Cadets as Commissioned Officers of the Sri Lanka Air Force.

The Sri Lanka Air Force said this was the culmination of nearly three years of intensive training and hard work by the officers who were from different branches such as General Duties Pilot, Technical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Logistics, Administrative Regiment and Operations Air. Having begun initial training at the Combat Training School in Diyatalawa for 21 weeks and at the Kotelawala Defence University for almost three years respectively, these officers subsequently followed their Basic Administrative Courses and respective branch trainings at the Flying and Ground Training Wings in China Bay and the Combat Training School at Diyatalawa.

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