“My dream is to fly the 747 one day.
On January 9, 2021, captain Zoya Agarwal and her team made history the first all-women flight crew to fly the world’s longest air route.
The non-stop commercial flight covered nearly 16,000 km from San Francisco to Bengaluru, via the North Pole, at 34,000 feet in the sky with 250 passengers.
One of the interviews with her:
Why choose an interest in becoming a pilot?
My father is retired, and I m the only child; I was born in Delhi and come from a traditional and conservative background where women are expected to have a regular education, grow up, find a suitable boy, get married, settle down, have kids and look after their family.
I was not one to be confined to these gender stereotypes. I was ambitious and wanted to go places. I used to sit on the terrace of my home and see the twinkling of the strobe lights of airplanes passing by and wonder maybe if I’m flying one of those planes, I could touch the stars.
When I was much older and took my first flight, I knew I couldn’t touch the stars, but that feeling was so precious that I felt years ago.
Is it true that you enrolled for an aviation course with the money you saved up over the years?
I had the habit of saving the money I received on birthdays. So my nanaji would give me some money on Diwali, which I had also held. Then during Raksha Bandhan, I had received money for tying the rakhi. I didn’t have siblings, so I used to tie rakhi to the entire world. I never spent my savings, and when I was in college and wanted to pursue an aviation course, I used that money. My parents never wanted me to become a pilot, so during the three years of my graduation, I had to convince them that I was not letting go of my dream at any cost. I was always Academy clear inclined my parents thought once I get into a good college, I may get distracted and not want to pursue my dream; I had to prove to my parents that I was serious about my flying course.
I didn’t ask them for money as I did not want to ask them something they couldn’t afford, so I broke my Piggy Bank and paid for my aviation course, which cost me a couple of thousand rupees.
Was it difficult juggling your graduation in science alongside an aviation course?
I used to wake up at 6:00 in the morning, attend college till 3 30, and then traveled by bus from one end of the city to another lot to participate in the aviation course. I would get back home by 10:00 PM, and when there was no electricity at home, I would surrender myself happily to the mosquitoes under streetlights and finish off my assignments.
I had too much on my platter, so I worked hard to finish my assignments every day. Even during the weekends, I had attended the aviation classes, and I refused to slack. That was my only chance to prove to my parents that I was serious about flying. I didn’t want to fail when the results were out. I talked in college, and my classmates couldn’t understand how someone who was so distracted about becoming a pilot could do so well.
My parents felt that I had worked very hard for three years and deserved to pursue my dreams by the end of college; my father helped me take a loan to purchase my dream of becoming a pilot.
Your biggest fear when you fly a plane?
I am an only child, so I have always feared that what if something happens to my parents if I am out on a flight once I was in Riyadh. My mom said nobody informed me as they felt I would rush back to India. The Call of Duty is a tough one, and the only time I wish I had siblings is when I am flying.
Why is it important for people to dream?
Somewhere I feel people should let their children gain if one does not dream; how will they make their dreams come true everything starts with a plan. If you have people who Demotivate their goal, they will end up being frustrated, and they will show their true potential.