When an Air India operated Boeing 787-Dreamliner aircraft carrying passengers from Delhi landed in Kolkata on October 12, it turned a new leaf in the history book of aviation. It was the first flight by Boeing’s most advance aircraft wherein both the pilot and the co-pilot were women.
Naturally a small celebration followed. Captain Rashmi Miranda, the commander and Captain Sakshi Kumar, the co-pilot got a picture shot together. “Honestly it felt like any other flight. The photograph made it special because it will become a part of our memories,” said Captain Miranda.
Incidentally, the second-generation pilot was also the first woman to fly, the Boeing 777 and part of an all-women flight that travelled above 13 countries ferrying passengers from Mumbai to New York to observe the International Women’s Day in 2010.
Captain Miranda operated many domestic flights on the Dreamliner since then, her real test came when she piloted the Dreamliner from Delhi to Frankfurt.
“The Delhi-Frankfurt route is challenging for a pilot in many ways because the aircraft travels above dry terrain such as Afghanistan and Caspian Sea. In case of mid-air emergencies, chances of getting help are slim,” said a senior Boeing commander requesting anonymity. Before
Industry veterans said that such achievements would inspire hundreds of young women to explore a field perceived to be male-dominated. “The most inspiring thing about this achievement is that Captain Miranda is a mother of two. And, the fact that her co-pilot was also a young woman,” said Harpreet De Singh, president of the
Indian Women Pilots’ Association (IWPA), a five-decade-old club formed by women pilots in Mumbai.