Mumbai Girl First in the World to Cross Atlantic Ocean in LSA
Captain Aarohi Pandit, a 23-year-old pilot from Mumbai became the world's first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean solo in a Light Sports Aircraft (LSA), thrilling her family, friends and aviation circles in Mumbai on Tuesday.
Pandit achieved the feat around midnight Monday-Tuesday (May 13-14) when she landed her tiny aircraft at Iqaluit Airport in Canada, after a grueling 3,000 km long flight, under adverse and extreme weather conditions following take-off from Wick, Scotland (United Kingdom), with brief stopovers in Greenland and Iceland.
"This is part of her ongoing year-long global circumnavigation flight which was launched with her friend Keithair Misquitta on July 30. Aarohi continued solo from UK to Canada, and they will return to India by July 30, 2019," said an excited Lynn de Souza, head of Social Access, a not-for-profit communications firm which organised and sponsored the expedition.
A commercial pilot and LSA licence holder, Pandit and her best friend Keithair Misquitta left India on the Women Empower (WE) Expedition in the tiny aircraft christened 'Mahi'.
'Mahi' is a tiny, single-engine Sinus 912 weighing a little of 400 kg or nearly equivalent to a Bullet motorcycle, manufactured by Pipistrel of Slovenia, and is also the first LSA registered by Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) India.
After landing in Iqaluit, Pandit proudly exhibited the Indian Tricolour presented to her by the Indian Ambassador to Canada Vikas Swarup, said Lynn.
Though she admitted certain sectors in the long flight were bumpy, the "beauty of the ocean and islands was breathtaking and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat".
Pandit is an ardent fan of the legendary American aviator, Amelia Earheart -- who became the world's first woman to make a solo transatlantic flight in a bigger aircraft, 87 years ago, on May 20, 1932.
A resident of Borivali, northwest Mumbai suburb, Pandit underwent an arduous seven-month preparatory training schedule in India, Greenland, Siberia, Italy over oceans, high altitude, snow, extreme weather conditions, different terrains testing her physical and mental capabilities to undertake her circumnavigation feat.
After a brief sojourn in Canada, the WE Expedition will continue with Pandit flying westwards to Russia, cross many a longitudes and hurdles, create or break more records, before she finally returns home by July 30, after clocking in around 37,000 km.