Google on Sunday dedicated a doodle to Sarla Thukral, India’s first woman to pilot a flight, on the occasion of her 107th birth anniversary.
“We planned to run this same doodle honouring Sarla Thukral in India last year. However, when the tragic plane crash occurred in Kerala, we withheld the doodle out of respect to the event and relief effort. Though we don’t usually run doodles more than once, Thukral left such a lasting legacy for women in aviation that we decided to run the doodle this year in honour of her 107th birthday,” the company said in a statement.
At the age of 21, Sarla Thukral soared to new heights by taking her first solo flight and becoming India’s first woman pilot 👩✈️
Today’s #GoogleDoodle honours this incredible pilot, designer, and entrepreneur, on her 107th birth anniversary.
— Google India (@GoogleIndia) August 8, 2021
Thukral was born on August 8, 1914 in Delhi, British India, and later moved to Lahore in present-day Pakistan. She was an Indian pilot, designer and entrepreneur.
Inspired by her husband who was an airmail pilot from a family of fliers, Thukral began her own training and obtained an initial license.
It is said she stepped into a cockpit of a small-double-winged plane for her first solo flight while being dressed in a traditional saree.
She was the first Indian woman to complete 1,000 hours of flight time to gain her A licence. When she began preparations to become a commercial pilot, World War II put a stop.
Thukral then studied fine art and painting at Lahore’s Mayo School of Arts (now the National College of Arts). She later returned to Delhi where she continued painting and built a successful career designing jewellery and clothing.