Mumbai based Aarohi Pandit, 23, became the world’s first woman on Tuesday to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean in a Light Sport Aircraft (LSA). She achieved the feat after flying from Wick in the UK  to the Iqaluit Airport in Canada on 13th May. The journey was divided into five parts, which included stops at Iceland and Greenland. Additionally, Pandit also became the first woman to have successfully completed a solo flight journey across Greenland Ice cap in an LSA.

WE! Women Empower Expedition

Aarohi Pandit is flying across the globe as a part of the WE! Women Empower Expedition. Under it, an all-women team is set to circumnavigate the world in LSA for the first time. It is noteworthy that Pandit, along with her 22-year-old fellow pilot for the expedition Keithair Misquitta, are the only women in India to have a license to charter LSA flights. Pandit’s flight over Greenland and Iceland forms one leg of the combined expedition that was completed by Pandit alone. The expedition is mentored by Captain Rahul Monga, who holds the world record for the fastest circumnavigation in a microlight aircraft, by flying around the world in 80 days.

Early beginner

Though Aarohi has created this record at the age of 23, she has been sitting on the front seat of the aircraft’s cockpit since she was 17 and navigating. By the time she was 19, she had already earned a license to fly larger planes.  “It’s a great adventure. The most amazing thing about the trip is when I flew over the ice cap. A wonderful sight to see the whitewashed ice under me”, she added. It took her 51 days to fly from India to Greenland and she will be back to India by July.

The Record With A Cause

Pandit completed her 3000 km long grueling flight from UK to Canada under adverse and extreme weather conditions. Her motivation to take up such a daunting task? “I’m here to raise awareness. My team at home in Mumbai is in the process of raising money, so that 100 underprivileged girls can get an education. I am flying a round trip to create an awareness for the project”, said Aarohi.

She tried setting the record last year too but poor weather conditions impeded her goal.  The aircraft she is travelling in weighs 472 kilos and measures just 4 metres from tip to end. With the fuel tank capacity of 60 litres, a fully filled tank can travel 1000 km. The aircraft’s wings are 15 metres long and they are easily influenced by wind and turbulence, a reason why it is important for Pandit that the weather is on its best behaviour while she flies.

Picture credit- The Economic Times

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