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Indian Female Pilot Earns Her Place At San Francisco Museum

On Friday, the San Francisco Aviation Museum offered a spot in its halls to Captain Zoya Agarwal, recognizing 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.

All about Captain Agarwal
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 all over the blue space 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 not so approving.

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 later 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.

And 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.