Category: Science & Technology

Indian Pilot Aarohi Pandit becomes the first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean

Indian pilot Captain Aarohi Pandit from Mumbai became the world’s first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean solo in a Light Sports Aircraft (LSA). She has set a world record as the first woman pilot to fly solo above treacherous Greenland ice cap.

Flying under adverse and extreme weather conditions, she 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.

“This is part of her ongoing year-long international circumnavigation flight which was launched with her friend Keithair Misquitta on July 30. Aarohi continued solo from the UK to Canada, and they will come back to India by July 30, 2019,” said an excited Lynn de Souza, head of Social Access, a not-for-profit communications firm which sponsored and organized the expedition.

A commercial pilot and LSA licence holder, Aarohi Pandit and her best friend Keithair Misquitta left India on the Women Empower (WE) Expedition in the tiny aircraft christened ‘Mahi’. 

Mahi’ is a small; single-engine Sinus 912 weigh up 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.

Misquitta and Pandit flew over Punjab, Gujarat, Rajasthan, 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, Germany, Slovenia, 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, said Lynn.

“I am so grateful and honoured 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, the light blue sky above and dark blue sea or shining white ice below,” said a tired but cheerful Pandit in her landing remarks to her cheering friends in Mumbai, who stayed awake till early on Tuesday to see her making history.