Sikh Woman: First Turbaned Pilot In America

The Sikh Research Institute (SikhRI) reported today that Arpinder Kaur, 28, of San Antonio, Texas has become the first turbaned pilot hired by a commercial airline in the Unitedimage002.jpg States. As a Sikhni, she has helped pave the way for both Sikh men and women who wear a dastaar/turban to fulfill their passion for flying. No longer does flying just have to be an extra-curricular activity for these Sikhs, but it can also be an every-day job!

In March 2008, after resolving the issue of wearing her dastaar on-the-job, with the help of the Sikh Coalition, Arpinder Kaur was officially hired by American Airlines Corporation (AMR) as a First Officer. She filed her grievance for accommodation of her religious article of faith based on American Airlines allowance of regulation approved hats. An agreement was reached that is consistent with state and federal anti-discrimination law. In June 2008 she finished her pilot training program and is now flying Embraer Jets for American Eagle, a regional airline that is part of AMR based out of the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

When Arpinder Kaur was asked why she chose to do this, she said:

Two of the reasons I did this were: first, my love of flying and, second, to set a precedent for the community so they know you can be in your Sikh appearance and do anything out there; so that my younger brothers and sisters [the rising generation] will pursue their passions while practicing their Sikh faith.

Her passion for flying first started when at the age of 15 she got to sit in the cockpit of an airplane when moving from Panjab. Despite having a degree in Information Systems and her mothers belief that it was too dangerous for a girl to be a pilot, Kaur has chosen to follow her passion; while using it as a means for supporting her family. Kaur said it was the love and support of her husband, Pritpal Singh that pushed her forward on the path toward becoming a pilot. Kulbir Singh Sandhu, captain with AMR mentored her throughout her aviation career. From 2003 to 2005 Kaur was trained by Jesse Sherwood in Kansas. With the help of these individuals and others along with her own perseverance and determination, Kaur and American Airlines have shown that accommodation and not assimilation is the way to harness the strength of diversity in America.

Harinder Singh, executive director of the Sikh Research Institute (SikhRI) in San Antonio, Texas said, This is a great day for the Sikhs in America. Religious accommodation, not assimilation, is what the founders of this great nation envisioned and we are thrilled American Airlines celebrates the rich religious and cultural diversity of all American populations.

Here is a short film on Arpinder Kaur and “piloting”:

YouTube Preview Image


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78 Responses to “Sikh Woman: First Turbaned Pilot In America”

  1. Arpinder Kaur is a prime example of destroying stereotypes, and breaking down barriers of ignorance and misunderstanding. Thank you for being a true ambassador of the Sikh Panth! We are fortunate to live in an America where, for the most part, we are judged by our ability to get the job done as opposed to whether we wear yarmulkes, dreadlocks or turbans. It’s important to note, there’s still work to be done in order to bring certain corporate/governmental “dress-code” regulations in compliance with the First Amendment and Federal/State Anti-Discrimination Laws – however, organizations such as SALDEF and the Sikh Coalition are doing this on a daily basis, in addition to individuals such as Arpinder Kaur.

  2. Gurjot Singh says:

    This was a brilliant article about the Sikh pilot Arpinder Kaur.

    [don't go off topic…Admin Singh]

  3. Gurjot Singh says:

    This was a brilliant article about the Sikh pilot Arpinder Kaur.
    [don’t go off topic…Admin Singh]

  4. Gurjot Singh says:

    [deleted]

    Gurjot, stick to one handle in The Langar Hall. Do not keep changing and do not tell me how to do my job. Please focus on the topic at hand….Admin Singh

    Gurjot = Idabat = pUNJABIsikh = jeev = Truthful…you were repeatedly warned about sock-puppetting. It says scores about you that instead of having any argument, you must resort to pretending to be others in order to make it seem you have more support. We know who you are and where you live in New York. Unless you want your name and address posted here, we suggest you just stop. You are hereby banned.

  5. Gurjot Singh says:

    [deleted]

    Gurjot, stick to one handle in The Langar Hall. Do not keep changing and do not tell me how to do my job. Please focus on the topic at hand….Admin Singh

    Gurjot = Idabat = pUNJABIsikh = jeev = Truthful…you were repeatedly warned about sock-puppetting. It says scores about you that instead of having any argument, you must resort to pretending to be others in order to make it seem you have more support. We know who you are and where you live in New York. Unless you want your name and address posted here, we suggest you just stop. You are hereby banned.

  6. [deleted…Idabat stay on topic and you need not respond…Admin Singh]

  7. Jeet Singh Khalsa says:

    Below are the words of the hero Gursikh captain of indian airline taken from The Times of India.

    Captain S.S.Kohli

    I believe there is an omnipresent God who answers our good deeds. Everyday, we should devote some time

    to prayers.

    That helps me, not just during the near-miss incident at Mumbai airport, but also in other aspects of my life. Everything in my life has been smooth because of Him. But God is there not just to give, you also have to work hard.

    I am very religious and spend two hours every day in prayers, usually before my flight. I constantly recite one verse, ‘‘ Hamri karo haath de raksha, puran hoi chit ki ichha’’ (Always protect me, let all my desires be fulfilled.) I also have a special puja room in my house. This is something I always wanted as a child, whenever I could build my own house. In fact, i rejected many houses as they didn’t have a puja room.

    I visit the gurdwara every day after my flight lands, be it in Delhi, Bangalore, Bangkok or Singapore. I carry three religious books with me in my flight bag, including the Sukhmani Sahib and the Japuji Sahib, and don’t let anyone tamper with it. God is part of my consciousness every minute and He gives me peace and contentment. Sometimes my colleagues and also ask me to pray on their behalf.

    Source:: Sikh Philosophy Network http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/showthread.php?t=24… (Captain S.S.Kohli)

    I was born a premature baby, just the size of a palm and was therefore called Mickey, after Mickey Mouse. For my mother, I am a miracle child, despite the complications she had during my birth. She is my inspiration. But everyone in the family says I am a step ahead of them. I try and inculcate the same religiosity in my children, and tell them to devote at least five minutes each day to God. I make sure they do ‘ matha tek’ before going to school.

    (As told to Shobha John)

    Source : I AM: Captain S S Kohli-Mind over Matter-Spirituality-Lifestyle-The Times of India

  8. Jeet Singh Khalsa says:

    Below are the words of the hero Gursikh captain of indian airline taken from The Times of India.

    Captain S.S.Kohli
    I believe there is an omnipresent God who answers our good deeds. Everyday, we should devote some time
    to prayers.

    That helps me, not just during the near-miss incident at Mumbai airport, but also in other aspects of my life. Everything in my life has been smooth because of Him. But God is there not just to give, you also have to work hard.

    I am very religious and spend two hours every day in prayers, usually before my flight. I constantly recite one verse, Hamri karo haath de raksha, puran hoi chit ki ichha (Always protect me, let all my desires be fulfilled.) I also have a special puja room in my house. This is something I always wanted as a child, whenever I could build my own house. In fact, i rejected many houses as they didnt have a puja room.

    I visit the gurdwara every day after my flight lands, be it in Delhi, Bangalore, Bangkok or Singapore. I carry three religious books with me in my flight bag, including the Sukhmani Sahib and the Japuji Sahib, and dont let anyone tamper with it. God is part of my consciousness every minute and He gives me peace and contentment. Sometimes my colleagues and also ask me to pray on their behalf.
    Source:: Sikh Philosophy Network http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/showthread.php?t=24050 (Captain S.S.Kohli)

    I was born a premature baby, just the size of a palm and was therefore called Mickey, after Mickey Mouse. For my mother, I am a miracle child, despite the complications she had during my birth. She is my inspiration. But everyone in the family says I am a step ahead of them. I try and inculcate the same religiosity in my children, and tell them to devote at least five minutes each day to God. I make sure they do matha tek before going to school.

    (As told to Shobha John)

    Source : I AM: Captain S S Kohli-Mind over Matter-Spirituality-Lifestyle-The Times of India

  9. ADMIN, SORRY BRO…ABOVE POSTER NOT ME…(although I do enjoy sikhchic.com). It seems Jeetu is doing the usual handle-changing spamming routine.

    [Thanks, we're on it…Admin Singh]

  10. ADMIN, SORRY BRO…ABOVE POSTER NOT ME…(although I do enjoy sikhchic.com). It seems Jeetu is doing the usual handle-changing spamming routine.

    [Thanks, we’re on it…Admin Singh]

  11. Ro So says:

    As an Indian Sikh male living in the US, I felt liberated when I finally cut my hair. It doesn't really make sense. How does cutting or not cutting hair affect karma or reincarnation? Can anyone answer that?

    Plus, I've never associated turbans with female Sikhs before, until I just researched "Western Sikhs". Not culturally what we're used to in India, but hey, why not. I've also never met a "Western Sikh" in New York either.

    Turbans have got to be allowed to be worn by pilots though…there's no question.

  12. Ro So says:

    As an Indian Sikh male living in the US, I felt liberated when I finally cut my hair. It doesn't really make sense. How does cutting or not cutting hair affect karma or reincarnation? Can anyone answer that?

    Plus, I've never associated turbans with female Sikhs before, until I just researched "Western Sikhs". Not culturally what we're used to in India, but hey, why not. I've also never met a "Western Sikh" in New York either.

    Turbans have got to be allowed to be worn by pilots though…there's no question.

  13. Jassy says:

    Satish needs to learn more about history , and i am sure it won't be a difficult task . History will clear his sick thinking.

  14. Undeniably imagine that which you stated. Your favourite reason seemed to be on the internet the easiest factor to remember of.
    I say to you, I definitely get annoyed whilst other folks think about concerns that they
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  15. Inderjit Kaur says:

    very proud to see sikh girl as a pîlot daughter ôf guru gôbind singh jî can achîeve any thing în her lîfe
    proud to be a sikh…

  16. Inderjît kaur says:

    very proud to see sikh girl as a pîlot daughter ôf guru gôbind singh jî can achîeve any thing în her lîfeproud to be a sikh…

  17. gureet singh says:

    Good. I am proud to be sikh

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