Date of Birth : Nov 10, 1971
Birth Place :Chandigarh
Last Rank: Flt Lt
Date of Martyrdom : Dec 24, 1996
Flt Lt Harita Kaur was born on 10 Nov 1971 in Chandigarh in a military family. Daughter of an Army veteran Colonel Deol, Flt Lt Harita Kaur became one of first seven women cadets inducted into the Air Force as Short Service Commission (SSC) officers in the year 1993. This also marked a critical phase in training of women in India as a transport pilots. After initial training at Air Force Academy, Dundigul near Hyderabad, she received further training at Air Lift Forces Training Establishment (ALFTE) at Yelahanka Air Force Station in Bangalore.
On 2 September 1994, Flt Lt Harita kaur, at the age of 22 years, became the first Indian woman to fly a solo in an Avro HS-748 aircraft. She created history when she kissed the clouds at a massive height of 10,000 feet, which indeed was an momentous occasion for Indian Air Force. Daughter of an Army man, Flt Lt Harita was adventurous and passionate about flying and Air Force life.
Air Operation Task : 24 Dec 1996
On 24 Dec 1996, Flt Lt Harita was assigned an operational as a co-pilot. Flt Lt Harita took off from Chennai in her HS-748 Avro aircraft as a co-pilot on a sortie from Chennai to Hyderabad. However on the way to Hyderabad the aircraft suffered technical glitches along with wing fatigue and crashed near Bukkapuram village in Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh.
In this ill fated crash Flt lt Harita lost her life along with 24 other personnel. Thus the life of a fine Air Force officer and a committed soldier was lost in this unfortunate accident. Flt Lt Harita had achieved the distinction of becoming the first Indian woman to fly a solo flight in the IAF but unfortunately also became the first woman Air Force pilot to die in harness in the line of duty.