Making the nation and womankind in general proud, Aarohi Pandit, 23 from Mumbai becomes the world's first woman pilot to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a light sport aircraft (LSA). Aarohi achieved the exploit around midnight Monday-Tuesday (May 13-14) when she landed her tiny aircraft called ‘Mahi’ at Iqaluit Airport in Canada, undertaking a cumbersome 3,000 km long flight, under extreme, harsh weather conditions following take-off from Wick, Scotland (United Kingdom), with brief stopovers in Greenland and Iceland.
The Mumbai girl landed at Iqaluit Airport at 18.29 UTC on Monday. Along the way, she also became the world's first woman pilot to successfully complete a solo flight across the treacherous Greenland ice cap in an LSA.
An Indian CPL and LSA License holder, Aarohi is flying around the world for the 'WE! Women Empower Expedition', the world's first all-woman team circumnavigation of the planet in a LSA.
Aarohi set sail for for the Expedition with her fellow pilot and best friend Keithair Misquitta on July 30 last year. They flew Mahi, which is a is a tiny single engine Sinus 912 plane across Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat in India and then to Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Serbia, Slovenia, Germany, France and UK. Since the tiny cockpit is equipped with a life raft, oxygen system and other safety equipment for the Atlantic Crossing and beyond, Aarohi is now flying solo.
"I am 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," she said.
A resident of Borivali, northwest Mumbai suburb, Pandit who is an ardent fan of the legendary American aviator, Amelia Earheart 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 achieve her world record feat.