History was Written: India's Daughters did it
By Rajan Sarma, Online Content Writer, SiliconIndia | Tuesday, 12 January 2021, 11:44 Hrs
We all knew, growing up, as to where the magnetic needle of the compass goes haywire. We do know that the compass needle points towards the north pole. But if you standing at the north pole, the needle has nowhere to point but to act weird. Well, No. Actually, it stops indicating. It simply starts rotating around its axis.
Robert Peary, a US Navy Engineer, in 1909, was the first ever human in the recorded history to have been able to take his ship on the North Pole.
The year is 2021. It’s been 112 years. And there have been many successful and unsuccessful attempts to make it to the north pole. A good majority of people were able to touch the North Pole and some couldn’t.
However, today, January 11, 2021, has etched a bright star in eyes of every Indian. Most importantly, the day will be remembered as the day when the Indian women marked trail of success and glory.
January 11th 3 A.M, India Time, an all-women-crew flight of Air India was flown by 5 women for the first time over the longest air route, from San Francisco, the Silicon Valley of the USA to Bengaluru, the Silicon Valley of India. The route was special and the longest since it was passing through the North Pole. Not only longest, but the route was challenging, too, since the aircraft was required to be manoeuvred through the harshest weather conditions on the planet.
The flight took off from San Francisco at 8:30 pm Pacific Time, reaching Bengaluru at 3 A.M IST, flying close to 17 straight hours, and approx. 16,000 km of aerial distance.
The flight plan was headed by Captain Zoya Aggarwal, accompanied by 3 other pilots Captain Papagari Thanmai, Captain Akanksha Sonaware and Captain Shivani Manhas, along with a lady Executive Flight Engineer. These women, in Captain Zoya’s words, are BhÄrat ki betiyan, which means Daughters of India. "We are India's daughters who were given the opportunity to make this historic flight," the commander of the flight, Captain Zoya Aggarwal, who flew the first leg of the flight. "We were able to create a new chapter in the Indian aviation history”, she adds. "The view from the North Pole is superb," said her co-pilot, Captain Thanmei Papagari, who flew the second half, adding that as women, they "had a point to prove that we can do the job."
India's aviation sector invests heavily in training women to become pilots. About 12% of the country's pilots are women, and that’s the highest percentage in the world, according to the Centre for Aviation. That's roughly three times the proportion in the US, where just 4% are women.
In 2017, Air India became the first airline to fly around the world with an all-female crew. The Boeing 777 flew from New Delhi to San Francisco over the Pacific Ocean. The crew completed a mandatory rest period before flying over the Atlantic back to New Delhi, completing the round-the-world trip.