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 May 14, 2019. She achieved the feat around midnight Monday-Tuesday (May 13-14) when she landed her tiny aircraft at Iqaluit Airport in Canada, after a gruelling 3,000 km long flight, under adverse and extreme weather conditions the following take-off from Wick, Scotland (United Kingdom), with brief stopovers in Greenland and Iceland
An Indian CPL and LSA License holder, Aarohi Pandit flew around the world for the WE! Women Empower Expedition, the world’s first all-woman team circumnavigation of the planet in a Light Sport Aircraft (LSA). The aircraft, called Mahi, is a tiny single engine Sinus 912 plane weighing less than a Bullet bike, manufactured by Pipistrel Slovenia, and is the first LSA registered by India’s DGCA.
Aarohi Pandit set course for the Expedition with her fellow pilot and best friend Keithair Misquitta on July 30 last year. They flew Mahi across Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat in India and then to Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Serbia, Slovenia, Germany, France and UK.
Lynn de Souza, head of Social Access, a not-for-profit communications firm which organised and sponsored the expedition said, "This is part of her ongoing year-long global circumnavigation flight which was launched wither friend Keithair Misquitta. Aarohi continued solo from UK to Canada, and they will return to India by July 30, 2019
En route, Aarohi Pandit 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
Aarohi 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, Aarohi Pandit proudly exhibited the Indian Tricolour presented to her by the Indian Ambassador to Canada Vikas Swarup
"I am so honoured and grateful I could do this for my country and for women everywhere... Flying over the Atlantic Ocean is a humbling experience. Its just you and your little plane, the light blue sky above and dark blue see or shining white ice below," said a tired but cheerful Aarohi Pandit in her landing remarks to her cheering friends in Mumbai, who stayed awake till early on Tuesday to witness her making history
Though Aarohi Pandit admitted certain sectors in the long flight were bumpy, the "beauty of the ocean and islands was breathtaking and she said that she would do it all over again in a heartbeat"
Aarohi 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, Aarohi 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 Aarohi 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
Keithair Misquitta said, "We had to be extra prepared since this was the first time either of us had flown like this. We spoke to other pilots at airports, looked through various apps to anticipate the terrain and weather, and did as much studying and research as we could rather than be at the mercy of the forecasts which can change really fast."
After completing her journey, Aarohi Pandit will be known as the first ever Indian civilian circumnavigation in a non-commercial aircraft
Mumbai girl and 23-year-old Aarohi Pandit made history when she landed in Iqaluit Airport (ICAO: CYFB) at on May 13, 2019, to become the world’s first woman pilot to cross the Atlantic Ocean, Solo, in a Light Sport Aircraft. Here's what we know about her life and journey