Story of Aarohi Pandit- she becomes the first woman to fly solo across Atlantic and Pacific Ocean

Indian girl named Aarohi Pandit is currently on a global flight in a small plane and has written a new success story for herself by becoming the first-ever woman pilot to cross both Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean solo in a Light Sports Aircraft.

Flying from Alaska’s Unalakleet city across the Pacific Ocean’s Bering Sea, Aarohi landed safely at the Anadyr Airport in Russia’s Far East region of Chukotka at 01.54 a.m. following a stopover at Nome (Alaska). After landing, the Mumbai girl posed for a photo before her LSA and waved the Indian tricolour.

Credits: India Today

In mid-May this year, Aarohi, 23 years old, became the first woman in the globe to cross the Atlantic Ocean solo in an LSA, inspiring her family, friends and aviation circles.

In the past nearly 13 months of her circumnavigation flight expedition, she has indeed broken and created several records, becoming the world’s first woman to complete a solo flight over the treacherous Greenland ice-cap in an LSA, and also the first woman to fly all across Canada from the North East to the North West via the South, said her team in Mumbai.

“Aarohi truly represents all that young Indian women are capable of, given an opportunity. We are very proud and she has set such a great example for all other girls to emulate,” Lynn de Souza, founder of Social Access Communications, which organised the WE! Expedition, told IANS.

As far as Aarohi is concerned, she considers the Pacific Ocean crossing as the most important sector for the Women Empower Expedition (WE!) circumnavigation, marking its stellar entry into a new country, a new continent and a new day.

In her 1,100 km flight journey from Unalakleet to Anadyr, Aarohi flew across the International Date Line (Line of Confusion), when the date changes and all instruments break down for a few minutes.

For the important and challenging leg of the crossing, Aarohi took off from Nome at around 2 p.m. on Tuesday and after a 3 hour, 50 minute flight, she eventually landed at Anadyr on Wednesday.

“I lost one day of my life which I will never get back..” she said jokingly about the IDL crossing but said she would always treasure the experience.

“The Pacific Ocean flight was more beautiful than the Atlantic Ocean crossing and it was also one of my most enjoyable. I feel honoured to achieve these records for India and women all over,” Aarohi said after her landing at Anadyr.

An Indian commercial pilot licence and LSA Licence holder, Aarohi had launched the world’s first all-woman team to circumnavigate the Earth in her LSA, named “Mahi”, on July 30, 2018, along with her friend and pilot identified as Keithair Misquitta.

It should be noted that “Mahi” is a tiny single-engine Sinus 912 aircraft which weighs less than a Bullet motorcycle, manufactured by Slovenia’s Pipistrel, and is the first LSA which is registered with the Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) India.

At first, both Aarohi and Keithair flew together across India’s famous states- Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat and then other foreign countries like Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Serbia, Slovenia, Germany, France and Britain.

Since the small cockpit had to be well-equipped with a life-raft, oxygen system and other important safety gadgets for the trans-oceanic flights from Britain onwards, Aarohi undertook the remaining part of expedition solo.

She was escorted by Pipistrel’s Canada President Jonah Boll for photography over the Canadian Rockies, and will have woman navigator Olga Eroshenko alongside as she flies across Russia, as ordered by the Russian civil aviation regulator.

A resident of Borivali in northwest Mumbai suburb, Aarohi underwent a tough seven-month preparatory training schedule in India, Greenland, Siberia, and Italy over oceans, high altitude, snow, extreme weather conditions, various terrains testing her physical and mental capabilities to undertake her circumnavigation feat.

Besides, she had to go through various physical and mental exercises to help her take on the difficult terrains and weather conditions while being all alone in the cockpit.

Aarohi is a huge 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. Amelia accomplished this legendary achievement 87 years ago, on May 20, 1932.

Till date, Aarohi has now logged in 29,500 kms in 50 legs across 3 continents and 20 countries in her small LSA.