In the sunny morning of last Wednesday (16 March), Assistant Superintendent of Police Fatema-Tuz-Zohra was all prepared for her test solo flight of an aircraft at the Tejgaon Old Airport.
Three of her colleagues – Md Saroar Hossain, Md Mushfiqul Hoque and Md Abul Hossain – had already taken the test.
With ASP Fatema's solo take-off during a training course, the newly-formed aviation wing of the Bangladesh Police started taking its shape.
"Bangladesh Police will gain further strength with the full swing operation of the aviation wing. The newly formed wing will play vital roles in communication, different drives, and rescue operations in remote areas," Inspector General of Police Benazir Ahmed said while celebrating the successful take-offs, at the Police Headquarters in the capital on Monday.
The wing was formed informally early last year with a deal with Russian helicopter manufacturer JSC Russian Helicopters to import two state-of-the-art choppers, which are yet to arrive in the country. A new horizon would open up with the addition of helicopters, according to the police.
Meanwhile, four assistant superintendents of police were privileged to enrol on an aviation training course at the Army Aviation School, along with six others from different forces. All four police trainees successfully completed their solo flights.
Starting on 4 July 2021, the training will continue until 1 Sept 2022. With the completion of the training, the first batch of pilots of the Bangladesh Police would be prepared for the full-swing operation of the aviation wing.
Just a start, long way to go
"This was my first solo flight and I flew on a circular route over the Tejgaon Airport's runway," Fatema, who joined the police through the 36th BCS, told The Business Standard.
"The experience is beyond words. Relief, confidence, joy and commitment – an extraordinary mix of all these emotions," she added. "However, it is just a start, a long way ahead to go."
The police officer said they were now going through different phases of the course and would start helicopter operation soon.
Md Abul Hossain completed his first solo flight on 3 December last year. "On completion, I was offered a 'water salute' and that was a memorable moment of my life," he told TBS.
A water salute is a tradition to honour military veterans, foreign dignitaries and new airline services. Each water cannon salute, which lasts about two minutes, can use as much as 3,000 gallons of water.