Republic of India |
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First female commercial pilot from Darjeeling

Sakshi Pradhan became the first female commercial pilot from Darjeeling back in April 2023.

Sakshi, a resident of DB Giri Road, was inducted as an A-20 junior first officer in IndiGo airlines in Gurugram on March 15. She was selected for the IndiGo Cadet Pilot Training Programme in 2019 through Skyborne and underwent training in New Delhi.

Later, she moved to Phoenix, Arizona, in the US where she obtained her FAA and CPL (commercial aircraft pilot licence) with multi-engine and instrument rating in 2020, said Sakshi’s father Rukesh Mani.

Sakshi said, “I have been chasing this dream since childhood, and today, I have achieved it. At present, I am based in Delhi and going through check sessions, the first of which was on Wednesday. We have nine check sessions in total. After six to nine months, I will be flying as a junior officer from Bengaluru base.”

Upon obtaining a licence as an Indian commercial airline pilot, she also completed A-320 aircraft type rating training from Etihad Airways in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Sakshi completed the primary level of school from Bethany School, Darjeeling, and later passed her ICSE examinations from Loreto Convent School, Darjeeling, in 2016. She joined Delhi Public School in Siliguri and cleared her AISSC examinations in 2018.

“It is a proud moment for me as my daughter has achieved her ambition. She has become an inspiration to aspiring pilots in the Hills and a pride for the entire students’ and youths’ fraternity. She has taken a risk of stepping into a field hitherto unexplored by any women from this region and obtained a commercial aircraft pilot licence as the first woman from this region,” the pilot’s father said.

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