21-year-old Kashmiri woman could become India's youngest ever pilot to fly beyond speed of sound

Ms Aziz says she wants 'to reach the edge of space'

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The Independent Online

India's youngest pilot, who received her student licence at 16 years of age, is set to become the first woman in the country to break the sound barrier piloting a Russian fighter jet. 

At 21 years old, Ayesha Aziz is planning on flying the MIG-29 fighter jet in Russia’s Sokol airbase.

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Picture: DAVE GAYWOOD/GETTY

If Ms Aziz succeeds, she will become the youngest Indian woman to pilot the aircraft beyond the speed of sound, reports NDTV.

She said: “I want to reach the edge of space, for which we are talking terms with the Russian agency to fly the MIG-29”.

The pilot received her commercial pilot licence in March after clocking in the 200 flying hours required to attain it. 

In 2011 the Kashmiri-born woman was given a student pilot licence by the Bombay Flying Club. One year later she completed a two-month advanced space training course at Nasa, and was among just one of three Indians chosen for the programme. 

She cites American astronaut Sunita Williams, who formerly held the record for total spacewalks by a woman (seven) as her inspiration.

Fellow American Peggy Wilson broke the record with her eighth spacewalk on 30 March.  

Ayesha’s brother Areeb Lokhandwala says he is “proud of her achievements” and considers his sister to be his “idol”. 

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