Friday, February 10, 2023

At 26, How I Broke Barriers & Became Youngest Woman Pilot to Command a Commercial Jet

As a child, Nivedita Bhasin saw aeroplanes fly over her school every day. She dreamed of becoming a pilot ever since. “At that time, I did not know any women who were flying, but I thought, ‘why not take a chance?’,” the 60-year-old recalls.

At 16, she joined the Delhi Gliding Club and later, a flying school in Patna. As flying was a male-dominated profession in those days, Nivedita was constantly reminded that she was a woman. She still showed up every day with devotion.

“Because when you want to do something so badly, you never think ‘how are you going to achieve it?’,” she says.

At 20, she was appointed as a pilot at Indian Airlines. When she received her command on Boeing 737, she was the mother of a one-year-old, but she flew. Since then, she has only soared higher and higher.

In 1985, she co-piloted the world’s first all-women crew flight with over 22,000 hours of flying. And in 1989, at the age of 26 years, Nivedita Bhasin became India’s third woman pilot and the youngest woman pilot in world civil aviation history to command a commercial jet aircraft.

In 2011, she went on to command Airbus 300. She even rescued Indians trapped in Libya during the civil war. Later, the captain became the first female pilot to serve as Air India’s chief safety officer.

10/02/23 Shivani Gupta/Better India

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