Home > attitude, Courageous, dashing, first, india, ladypilot, pilot, sarla, Sarla Thakral, thakral > India’s First women in air – India’s first lady pilot – Sarla Thakral

India’s First women in air – India’s first lady pilot – Sarla Thakral

The year 1936 when the flying was like dream, flying in air was like miracle.

There were only male in the cockpit of the airplane.

At that time one lady entered the cockpit of a Gypsy Moth and flew into the blue skies, and made a history as India’s first lady pilot.

The dashing, courageous, Sarla Thakral. She was only 21 year old when she achieved that sky.

First inning


Her husband P D Sharma was the initiator behind that and father-in-law was the supportive of all the things.

P D Sharm’s family after all had nine pilots already and they were all supportive of the decision.

“In fact it wasn’t so much my husband. My father-in-law was even more enthusiastic and got me enrolled in the flying club,” says Sarla and adds,” I knew I was breaching a strictly male bastion but I must say the men, they never made me feel out of place.”

She obtained her ‘A’ license when she accumulated over 1000 hours of flying.


She was looking for the group B license that would authorize her to fly as a commercial pilot. But when she was undergoing training in Jodhpur, unfaith happened. Her husband died in a crash in 1939. She widowed at 24. She abandoned her plans to become a commercial pilot.


Second inning:
She joined the Mayo School of Arts in Lahore. But her parents re-married her and she settled in Delhi after partition. She succeeded in establishing herself as a renown painter. Most of her water colors have followed the Bengali School of Art.

Along with paintings she also began designing clothes and costume jewellery.

She supplied her jewellery designs to several cottage industries for over 20 years. She had also started textile printing and her sari prints were a rage with the fashionable crowd.

One of the clients was Vijaylaxmi Pandit.

Now she is 91 years old young lady still flying high in his life.

“Every morning I wake up and chart out my plans. If there is plenty of work I feel very happy otherwise I feel a precious day has been wasted,” she says.


source: http://www.the-south-asian.com/May-June2003/sarla_thakral__first_woman_pilot.htm



  1. October 17, 2007 at 6:32 am

    >>> Real Indian Lady <<<<

    She is representing the courage of Indian lady .

  2. October 17, 2007 at 7:16 am

    Good Work..:)
    Keep on spreading the rich Indian Culture.. There are so many things about the proud Indians, which can give the rest good inspiration…
    Good job…:)

  3. October 30, 2007 at 10:22 am

    sarla thakral is my inspiration. i 2 wannna become a pilot.

  4. December 14, 2007 at 4:10 pm

    I am an Information technology engg. But now I wish to achieve my childhood dream of becoming a pilot ….After going through her life story I think a lady has a life beyond that of the kitchen and the office …for me its going to be the cockpit…i will be flying high I salute the first lady pilot

  5. January 25, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    Thakral”s hv a proud on her

  6. Manisha
    March 11, 2008 at 9:46 pm

    Yes, she is indeed a great lady. She is also my grandmother and I am proud to have such a lady in the family as a role model. She inspires me to be dedicated towards my life, be active always and have a “never say die” attitude towards whatever comes my way.

    Thanks for commenting here.. we all proud to have such lady in country, really your grandmother is inspiration for lot of us.
    hats off to sarala madam.
    my blogs are basically for such things, to introduce peoples with our real heros/heroines. to aware people regarding Traditons ( right and wrong), Culture, festivals.

    • December 17, 2011 at 10:08 am

      Hello Manisha:

      What an excellent Story and accomplishment! If you have more information, please email me at your convenience.

      Thank you!

    • kshiprasadhan
      December 21, 2011 at 8:14 am

      Hello there, can someone please guide me, that who was the exact first Indian lady to fly? Because, according to ‘DNA’, its Lt.Mrs.Geeta Godbole, from Mumbai. Please mail me with correct information at ‘kshiprasadhan@yahoomail.com’. For your reference, please check the news released by ‘DNA’ (http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report_india-s-first-woman-pilot-geeta-godbole-no-more_1592939). I hope, you will surely help me out from this confusion.

      Thanks and Regards !


      • Reema
        May 17, 2012 at 7:30 pm

        Hello kshiprasadh, Lt.Mrs Geeta Godbole flew her first solo flight in 1940,whereas my GREAT GRAND MOTHER, the late Sarla Thakral flew here first solo flight in 1936 hence making her the first women pilot of India. If it was not for the war she would have also been the first commercial airline pilot. 🙂

        Here’s a link.It’s an interview taken by NDTV India.


    • Akshay Sharma
      December 15, 2012 at 9:52 pm

      Hey .,she used to live in my house in old delhi,

  7. Monika Gupta
    May 1, 2008 at 11:19 am

    It is great to know about such a lady with guts and fighting spirit. Can you provide me any contact address of hers? Thanks
    Reply ——–
    NO madam, i dont have any contact number..

  8. I.K.Thakral
    September 12, 2008 at 10:54 am

    India’s First Lady Pilot, Legend of Flying and Colors-
    Sarla Thakral, represents ‘Source of Inspiration’ for
    young women of India.

  9. manisha
    December 16, 2008 at 5:46 am

    real beauty of india,,, fatastic,, hatsoff,, 🙂

  10. capt.abhijit adsul
    December 24, 2008 at 10:14 am

    when india was under british rule,owning a car or driving was a dream for all indians and in those days flying of aircraft was big achievment for all the indians.regards….

  11. Sonali Desai
    February 17, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    Jagadish Thakral

    I am a journalism student and writing a profile on Sarla Thakral and have been struggling to talk to people who know her. Can i please get to talk to her and you as you are her grandson u say? Please send me contacts.

    Sonali Desai

    • vivchavan
      February 18, 2009 at 8:23 am

      Hello Sonali
      Thats great thing that u r writing a pofile on Sarala madam.
      but i even dont have contact of Sarala madam or Mr. Jagdish Thakaral.
      I am also fan of her.
      You just tell me your mail id so if i get any information i will forward you.

      Thanks Viv.chavan

  12. February 17, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Jagadish Thakral

    I am studying journalism and writing a profile on Sarla Thakral. I have been looking forward to talk to people who know her and also interview her. Please send me the contacts.

    Sonali Desai

  13. February 18, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    My email id is sonaliedesai@yahoo.co.in. Can i know her date of birth and her birth place? Also some background information.

  14. April 14, 2009 at 5:35 am

    greeting ,
    i also want to be a piolet so what can i do????????

  15. nanda kumar
    June 18, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    brave lady….jai hind..

  16. lily mathur
    July 22, 2009 at 8:29 am

    Its great that now girls are also intrested in piolet as a carrer.I am also one of them who also intrested init.But whatever i collected the information about it, i am not fully satisfy. so i want that plz give more detail about it ,,including mini mini things that how i will apply,what the age limit??,,is it possible that after graduation on IT stream can also apply??? whats the expenditure and time it take!!!!
    Because i impresed to miss.SARLA THAKRAL 🙂 really!!!
    you send detail on my e-mail..


    • bksharma
      April 16, 2010 at 1:40 am

      You can fly commercially in India if you passed 10+2 with Physics and maths.In India it takes 2-3 years for 250 hours flying.Some people have done it in less time.Cost appx. 25 lakhs. Outside India cost little more only.takes 6 months to a year and you dont need 10+2 phy and maths(Pl. confirm this point).Then it takes 6 months to a year to convert your foreign CPL(commercial Pilots License) to Indian takes 6 to12 months.depending on passing Indian requirements fr conversion.

  17. sivapriya
    August 22, 2009 at 3:06 am

    its really great. even at age 91 she is planning and ready to

    analyse her work.great. is she still alive

  18. lokmitra
    August 29, 2009 at 2:57 am

    first of all i want to salute this brave lady .i”m also a journalist as sonali and want to talk him.this will be an amazing chapter of knowledge for me .

  19. September 24, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    can any one guide me , where does she stay ?

  20. gitika
    October 28, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    I think in that time she was so was so luky that so has such a supportive husband
    & father-in-law……

  21. gitika
    October 28, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    I think in that time she was so was so luky that she has such a supportive husband
    & father-in-law……

  22. December 8, 2009 at 8:18 am

    Ma aim is to become a pilot when i got to know that sarla madam is the first lady pilot it made me to know more about her . its really great .she is ma motivation.

  23. Hanan
    January 7, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    it,s great to have woman like Sarla madam in our country
    Hats off to your courage madam

  24. mithra tiwary
    April 19, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    manisha thakaral
    my goodness what a courageous indian woman.i an inspired by thiis biography after amelia m earhart.i wish i will be a great indian pilot like her . “please mam bless me!”

  25. rahul ittal
    April 21, 2010 at 7:37 am

    i am her grandson, She indeed was a supergreat woman, sadly she passed away on 15th march 2009 with a smile on her face, lived a life of complete fulfillment, independent and with grace on her own terms, sad the govt did not confer PadmaShri on such a legend,pitiable politicians looking after thier own

  26. janani
    April 27, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    great work mam.she is one of role models now.hatsoff to her.

  27. janani
    April 27, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    great work.she is one of my role models now.hatsoff to her

  28. monika
    June 10, 2010 at 11:58 am

    Really hats off to you mam….now I am stable with my decision of becoming a pilot…thank u mam

  29. suganya
    July 13, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    its really great .good mind .your really fan .i very much pilot transport

  30. tabassum sheikh
    October 22, 2010 at 9:24 am

    i m proud of u

  31. November 3, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    wow…. keep it up my friends and i will help u also. Indian ladys and girls are full of cultural activities as well as in study. they do work hard in study as in cultural activities.they are sign of india;s properity . they r courageous,and never look backward.they r GODDESSSES for Indians.

  32. November 3, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    SARLA THAKRAL you are so GREAT GREAT GREAT.And all Indians proud on u.u had given a example to Indian women.

  33. naim ur rehman
    February 17, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Fly high lady and keep flying high.I come from the city where you studied, i also went to the same institution

    March 8, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    HAPPY WOMEN DAY’S! all Indians proud ON U.SALUTES TO U…..
    (JAI HIND )

  35. Aditya Sharma
    March 31, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    My name is Capt. Aditya Sharma, and i feel immensely proud to say that I come from the family tree of Sarla Thakral.
    I am the 16 th pilot of my family.
    She is my great grandmother.
    always felt proud for her, always will.

    • Sanjiv Raheja
      June 26, 2016 at 10:24 am

      Dear Capt Aditya Sharma, great to see your message. I am the secretary of Aviation History Society Of India.Kindly get in touch on ph 09876019312 or tonyraheja@hotmail.com. We need as much information as possible.


      Capt S Raheja

  36. capt sangita basu
    April 2, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    she is a very great inspiration of mine to become a commercial pilot…….in india …….keep flying bcozz sky has no limits mam…..

  37. capt sangita basu
    April 2, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    now iam working with indias first male pilot (the pilot licence no 1 ) mr jrd tata@ tata aviation services THE GOD WHO OPENED UP THE SKIES FOR HIS COUNTRY….jamshedpur as a chopper pilot……

  38. sindhuja
    July 7, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    u r simply g8 madam

  39. July 24, 2011 at 6:36 am

    i m now 15yrs old n in 10th std …i want to become a pilot n i m sure that i ll become a pilot after reading this post i m feeling very proud that i had chosen the right path….i really solute to mrs.SARALA THAKRAL…… thank u madam you gave the girls inspiration to become a pilot n make their life……..i m proud to be a girl ……

  40. Anju
    August 3, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    I admire her………..and salutes her

  41. Jyoti
    September 17, 2011 at 7:21 am

    Hey Guys..

    I really admire this lady. Made a way for each dreamer specially for girls. My grandmother told me how difficult it was even to come out from home in those days. So She has done splendid job ..
    Also i am looking for a lady pilot named INDIRA who became pilot right after India got independence. She was my Grandmom’s Best friend and due to partition they never met again. After 60 yrs, long journey of her life she remembers all memories of their childhood and wish to see her again. I think there should be some information about such lady pilot cos that time right after independence there were very few lady pilots… Searching for someone wd first name and no other detail seems impossible but i really wanna do it for her. Internet is a possible way !! Any one having any info about it pls ans here… Thanks !!

    September 20, 2011 at 7:59 am

    i proud of my first pilot lady.

    September 20, 2011 at 8:00 am


  44. puja
    November 14, 2011 at 6:17 am

    my only dream is to become a piolet. Bt its too much costly 😦
    and air force dont need female piolets 😥

    • Balu
      February 27, 2012 at 2:27 pm

      Dear Puja,
      Pilot are very dedicated peoples flying around and very clever and quick decision makers
      if your aptitude is very sharp all Flying clubs offer scholor ships and u can write the exam for obtaining http://www.rgaviation.com
      good luck
      If there is will you will have a way
      Just wishing not enough be initiative there are pleanty of good hearted people who will come to your rescue if u are really interested if u are day dreamer just keep on dreaming
      P B S

    • rajni
      August 3, 2013 at 7:02 am


  45. November 26, 2011 at 8:09 am

    It’s really a gud one………….:)

    March 19, 2012 at 4:32 pm


  47. July 2, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    Thanks for this amazing information. Indeed she is a brave lady.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:08 am


  49. mona rawat
    August 24, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Just b’coz this people I m proud to be a girl…………………………………………………………..

  50. taniya
    September 5, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    i also want to be a pilot .. i know its not easy but i hv to do it.

  51. Taniya Jaiswal
    September 5, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    dream big dreams. if u can dream , u can achieve it ,go there where is no path and lead a trial.

  52. Taniya Jaiswal
    September 5, 2012 at 4:50 pm


    follow ur dream u will gt defnetly the path.

  53. October 7, 2012 at 11:13 am

    i also want to be like you

  54. January 22, 2013 at 9:48 am

    I”ll promised u mam i will goen to fly with my image , with my aim…

  55. swarup dey
    February 27, 2013 at 8:32 am

    i want to know who is the first bengali woman to be a pilot. can you please tell me?

  56. rajni
    August 3, 2013 at 7:05 am

    she is inpiration for new generation ……….hats off to her …………..

  57. Amjed saleem Alvi
    January 3, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    There was another lady from Lahore, Mrs. Hijab Imtiaz Ali taj, who got licence for flying in 1936 after an year of rigorous training.She got her licence in perhaps September 1936, because the news about her published in newspaper of Lahore on 2nd October 1936.When Did Shrimati sarla get her licence? Can any body tell the exact date?

    • Moaz Sharif
      March 8, 2015 at 7:19 pm

      This is exactly what I wanted to know but I guess we will never get the answer from the Indian people, because this other lady is from Pakistan and a Muslim.

  58. May 24, 2014 at 9:15 am

    really hats of sarala tharkal, my dream is my daughter become a pilot in future

  59. July 10, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    We stumbled over here coming from a different website and thought I might
    as well check things out. I like what I see so now i
    am following you. Look forward to looking over your web page for a second time.

  60. Trisha
    August 15, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    Hats off to Sarla Thakral. She is great!

  61. Sanjeev Bakshi
    September 15, 2014 at 3:31 am

    Great achievement for a lady.

  62. September 23, 2014 at 2:43 am

    It’s remarkable for me to have a web site, which is useful in favor of my knowledge.
    thanks admin

  63. December 26, 2014 at 8:28 am

    Sarla Mam is a great shining inspiration for me ,for the lady pilots and those who want to be a pilot…..

  64. December 29, 2014 at 8:57 am

    I am on 10th standard now and it is also my dream to be a pilot and i think i will be able to full fill my dream by getting many inspiration from sarla mam.

  65. January 2, 2015 at 12:32 pm


  66. June 11, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    love you

    September 2, 2016 at 7:04 am

    I salute you M’am. Your courage and inspite of hardship,you are an example for millions of us. Commendable lifestyle. Jai Hind.

  1. January 3, 2011 at 9:37 am
  2. October 7, 2013 at 2:44 am
  3. April 12, 2016 at 4:39 am

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