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Flying Queen of Darjeeling

ISP Delhi Bureau

Sakshi Pradhan is possibly the first commercial pilot of Darjeeling Hills. She has created history as she has been selected as the first female commercial pilot from the hills of Darjeeling bringing pride to the landlocked serene tourist destination of India in West Bengal. 

Being the only child of her parents, Sakshi always found extra attention from Rukesh Mani Pradhan and Mrs. Bandana Mukhiya, the proud parents. She always dreamed of flying and making her community be known across the world. 

Coming from a region of difficult terrain, 23-year old Sakshi also knew that to pursue hobbies like flying was a difficult task for her. To reach the position of taking up flying as a profession she had to undergo many hours of flying and dedicated training. 

Sakshi’s dreams came true in 2019 when she was selected for the Indigo Cadet Pilot Program held by a private airline company in 2019. She clinched to the opportunity like there was no tomorrow. She worked hard and gave her hundred percent in the training. She came out one of the best in the training batch. She got her licence as a commercial pilot eventually with good grades. She was selected by the Indigo Airlines as a Junior First Officer owing to her enthusiasm and eagerness to learn. 

Sakshi began her primary education at Bethany School in Darjeeling and later studied science subjects at Delhi Public School Siliguri. She passed her exams with flying colours and expressed a strong desire to become a skilled pilot in her school itself. Her willpower helped her obtain her commercial pilot licence through Skyborne Aviation Limited in New Delhi. She then underwent further training in Arizona, USA, and Pantanagar, Uttarakhand, India, under the DGCAA of the Government of India. Sakshi underwent A-320 aircraft typing training at Etihad Airways in Abu Dhabi, UAE.  Indigo Airlines has honoured her for her achievements at a grand graduation ceremony held at the company’s headquarters in Gurugram recently. 

Sakshi’s career proves that things can be achieved by having the true spirit to do something wholeheartedly and passionately. She stands out as a true example of the fact that with sheer hard work you can always overcome limitations of time and circumstances. She is today an inspiration for the current younger generation in her region in Darjeeling which suffers from low levels of employment and opportunities to excel in topographical and connectivity issues. 

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