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Indian Female Pilot Recognised At San Francisco Museum

The San Francisco Aviation Museum recognised Captain Zoya Agarwal, last Friday. They offered her a place in their halls, noting her achievement for all Indian women pilots and celebrating her extraordinary aviation career. Captain Agarwal’s induction into the US-based museum makes her the first and the only pilot to earn a place.

Captain Zoya Agarwal grew up as the only child in a middle-class family with a conservative mindset. Her love for aviation set in at a young age, whenever she used her telescope to gaze into the skies. She often recalls spotting jumbo jets flying through the skies and always wondered if she would ever be able to fly one of them. However, when young Agarwal expressed her dream of becoming a pilot, her parents were disapproving.

Despite the disapproval, young Agarwal still worked to pursue her dream as she went through two full-time studies for three years after high school. From 06:00 to 15:00, she would focus on her course at St Stephen’s College and proceed to dedicate the latter half of the day until 21:30 to aviation classes. Eventually, Agarwal’s parents were won over by her hard work and determination as she continued to excel in her studies.

 In April 2004, when Air India was the only Indian carrier flying international routes and the country’s aviation industry was much smaller than it is today, Agarwal cleared the entrance exams and earned one of the 10 spots for new pilots at Air India. She then became one of the youngest women pilots to fly the Boeing 777 in 2013 and is still a senior Air India pilot today.

Emer Roche
Emer Roche
Emer has over 10 years experience working for Irish magazines, supplements, websites and creative agencies. She’s written features for U Magazine, Image Magazine and theheyday.ie, across a range of subjects such as women’s interest, travel, culture, news and interviews. She also has a portfolio of commercial writing for creative agencies, such as RTE.ie and Originate Creative. Emer is a Dublin native with part of her heart in Ardmore, County Waterford. She lives in Dublin 7 with her husband, two kids, dog and cat.


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