Aarohi Pandit, 23, has become the world’s first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean in a Light Sport Aircraft (LSA).
Pandit completed the feat when she landed at Iqaluit Airport in Canada on 13 May, having flown there from Wick in the UK. Her journey was broken into five legs, with stops at Iceland and Greenland. It also made Pandit the first female pilot in the world to successfully complete a solo flight across the Greenland ice cap in an LSA.
Mumbai-based Pandit is flying around the globe as part of the WE! Women Empower Expedition; the expedition is the first all-women team to circumnavigate the world in LSA.
Her aircraft is a single engine Sinus 912 plane, and is the first LSA registered by India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation. The aircraft’s cockpit was equipped with a raft, oxygen and other safety gear for the Atlantic crossing.
Pandit embarked on the expedition with fellow pilot Keithair Misquitta in July 2018. They flew across Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat in India, before crossing over Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Serbia, Slovenia, Germany, France and the UK.
“I’m so honoured and grateful that I could do this for my country and for women everywhere. Flying over the Atlantic Ocean is a humbling experience. It’s just you and your little plane, with the light blue sky above and the dark blue sea or shining white ice below. Certain parts were bumpy but the beauty of the ocean and the islands is breathtaking. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat!” Pandit, a self-professed admirer of Amelia Earhart, said in a statement released to the press.
Pandit underwent a rigorous seven-month training programme to prepare for the expedition. She trained for extreme weather, oceanic and high-altitude flying along with various physical and mental exercises to ready herself for flying solo over difficult terrain and in tough conditions.
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