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Aviator Zoya Agarwal Creates History by Flying World's Longest Air Route

An all-female cockpit crew achieved aviation history by flying the world's longest air route in January of this year.

Aviator Zoya Agarwal Creates History by Flying Worlds Longest Air Route

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  24 May 2021 9:58 AM GMT

An all-female cockpit crew achieved aviation history by flying the world's longest air route in January of this year.

Captain Zoya Agarwal of Air India spoke to Humans of Bombay about her early dream of being a pilot, how she worked to achieve her goal, and how she made history as the first woman to fly between the poles.

Since the age of 8, she aspired to be a pilot, said captain Zoya Agarwal.

"In the 90s, growing up as a girl in a lower middle class family meant that you weren't allowed to dream beyond your means," she said.

"I'd go to the terrace, look at the aeroplanes in the sky and wonder, 'Maybe if I was flying one of those planes, I could touch the stars," she added.

She was first hesitant to tell her parents about her ambition, especially after overhearing her mother say that as Zoya grew older, she would have to be married off into a good household.

After finishing 10th grade, Ms Agarwal says she "couldn't hold back" and informed her parents she wanted to be a pilot. Her mother began to cry, and her father was concerned about the cost of pilot training.

Despite this, she ignored their wishes and studied Science in grades 11 and 12. "I excelled in my 12th boards and took up Physics for graduation" Ms Agarwal recalls. She also applied for an aviation school, which she could pay for with the money she had saved over the years.

Zoya Agarwal went to college for three years before leaving for her aviation course in another area of town. She would get home around 10 p.m. and then sit down to finish her homework.

"When I topped college, I went to Papa and asked, 'Now, will you allow me to pursue my dream?' Hesitantly, Papa agreed to take a loan to pay for my course. I put my heart and soul into it and excelled," she says.

There was no turning back for the pilot after that. She paid off her father's debts and gave her mother diamond jewellery. Ms Agarwal even volunteered to lead rescue operations during the outbreak.

Zoya Agarwal earned another feather to her cap this year when she took leadership of flight AI176, which flew the longest distance between San Francisco and Bengaluru by air. To get to Bengaluru, the pilot flew over the North Pole and across the Atlantic.

Ms Agarwal and the other crew members were greeted at the airport with banners and cheers by the Air India staff after the successful completion of the 17-hour journey.

She has also received messages from ladies who have been inspired by her after the journey.

On Facebook, her journey has received approximately 10,000'reactions,' as well as hundreds of comments and shares.

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