Google Doodle honours Sarla Thukral on her 107th birthday, first Indian woman to fly an aircraft

Sarla Thukral, at the age of 21, dressed in a traditional sari, had stepped into the cockpit of a small-double-winged plane for her first solo flight. With this, she became the first Indian woman to pilot an aircraft. 

Created On: Aug 9, 2021 12:35 IST
Sarla Thukral
Sarla Thukral

Sarla Thukral, the first Indian woman to pilot an aircraft, was honoured by Google on August 8, 2021, on her 107th birth anniversary. She was honoured with a unique Doodle that showcased her extraordinary achievement.

Sarla Thukral who was an Indian pilot, designer, and entrepreneur was often best known for being the first woman from India to pilot an aircraft. Her doodle was illustrated by artist Vrinda Zaveri.

While explaining the Doodle art, the company said that Sarla Thukral left such a lasting legacy for women in aviation that Google decided to run the doodle this year in honour of her 107th birthday.

Who was Sarla Thukral?

Thukral was born in Delhi, British India, on August 8, 1914. She later moved to Lahore in present-day Pakistan.

Inspired by her husband, who was an airmail pilot from a family of fliers, Sarla Thukral began training to follow in their footsteps.

• Sarla Thukral, at the age of 21, dressed in a traditional sari, stepped into the cockpit of a small-double-winged plane for her first solo flight. Soon, the word was spread in the newspapers that skies were no longer exclusive to men.

Sarla Thukral’s ascent did not just stop with her first achievement. As a student at the Lahore Flying Club, Thukral completed 1,000 hours of flight to achieve her A License, which was also another first for an Indian woman.

Later that year, she started preparations to become a commercial pilot, however, World War II had put a halt on civil aviation training.

Sarla Thukral later took up fine arts and painting at Mayo School of Arts, Lahore (now known as the National College of Arts).

She later returned to her native place in Delhi. There she continued her painting and also moved on to build a successful career designing clothing and jewelry.

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