Captain Manisha M. Puri

From Sarees to Stripes: True Stories of Commercial Women Pilots in India.

Captain Manisha Mohan Puri’s journey into aviation started way back in 1986 when she got a scholarship for 60 hours of free-flying at the Bhopal flying Club. She has never looked back ever since. She went to the USA to complete her flying and got her Commercial Pilot Licence with instrument rating from ‘Skywings Flight Training school in Dallas, Texas. On returning to India, she joined Indian Airlines Ltd in 1988, thereby becoming one of the few elite commercial women pilots of the country.

She feels blessed to be a pilot, a profession that has made her what she is today - disciplined, focussed, daring, fearless, and ready to take on any challenge life throws at her. In her long career as a commercial pilot with Air India Ltd (formerly Indian Airlines Ltd); she has faced many challenging situations like Single Engine, Hydraulic failure, and even Emergency Landings but nothing stopped her from continuing to pursue her passion for flying and she has thoroughly enjoyed every flight she flew! She has played significant roles in organizations, including being the Crew Resource Management facilitator for Air India (narrow body) for four years, and Deputy General Manager (operations department). She was also the former Chairperson (Delhi Branch) of the Indian Women Pilots’ Association.

Currently, she is Secretary of the International Organisation of Women Pilots, also known as the Ninety-Nines. Today she mentors underprivileged children through the NGO ‘Nai Disha’. She has been honoured in Atchison, USA, by the ‘International Forest of Friendship’ for her role in aviation. A plaque in her name has been placed in the forest of friendship alongside the plaques of aviators from across the world. Having flown aircraft such as the Pushpak and Cessnas to jets like the Boeings and Airbuses, it gives her immense pleasure to talk about flying and related topics.

Session Time
  • Topic: From Sarees to Stripes: True Stories of Commercial Women Pilots in India.
  • Speaker: Captain Manisha M. Puri
  • Moderator: Flt Lt Shiwalee Deshpande
  • Date: 28th April 2022
  • Time: 6.00 pm
  • Venue : Tamarind Hall Chitnavis Centre Civil Lines, Nagpur
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Captain Manisha M. Puri
Captain Manisha M. Puri

Flt Lt Shiwalee Deshpande was commissioned in the Indian Air Force as a Pilot officer for 5 Years Short Service Commission (SSC) from 1997-2002. She as in the Air Traffic Control/ Fighter Controller (ATC / FC) branch Worked as an Administrative Officer and was recognized for Public Speaking.

Flt Lt Shiwalee Deshpande is the First girl in the country to commanding a Passing Out Parade at the Air Force Academy. She Is a Defence Expert on many renowned news channels and Was a youth speaker in “Youth Talks Nagpur‟ organized by “Youth India‟. She is called for motivational speaker at various forums. She is a Founder Trustee of Prahar- Samaj Jagruti Sanstha. And is a proud owner of numerous awards and Achievements.

Shiwalee Deshpande
Shiwalee Deshpande


Media Coverage
RGI Scholarship