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.
Pandit took off from from Wick, Scotland (United Kingdom), with brief stopovers in Greenland and Iceland."En route, she set another world record as the first woman pilot to fly solo above the treacherous Greenland ice-cap in a LSA, and is due for at least half a dozen other records by the time she reaches India," said Lynn.
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.
Pandit and Misquitta flew over Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat, then to Pakistan, where they landed -- making it the first civilian LSA flight to land in the neighbouring country since 1947 -- and went onto to Iran, Turkey, Serbia, Slovenia, Germany, France and UK.
After landing in Iqaluit, Pandit proudly exhibited the Indian Tricolour presented to her by the Indian Ambassador to Canada Vikas Swarup, said Lynn.