3,000 km, extreme weather conditions, and the adrenalin never deterred 23-year-old Aarohi Pandit to become the world's first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean solo in a Light Sports Aircraft (LSA) alone. She clocked 120 hours of flying across 18 countries and 37,000km over the duration of 10 months, breaking records, all while making friends, family and the aviation industry proud.
Flying over the Atlantic Ocean has been a humbling experience
After 2 months and 17 stops, she was forced to return to Mumbai due to bad weather conditions in Greenland, however, she rose to the challenge of taking on the North Atlantic Ocean and the Greenland icecap despite it being notorious for its climate. Her LSA is what laypeople would call cramped, however, there was enough room for a state-of-the-art survival kit which included an oxygen system, life jacket, and a life raft that was strapped to the seat of the co-pilot. She said, "I’m so honored and grateful that I could do this for my country and for women everywhere. Flying over the Atlantic Ocean has been a humbling experience. It’s just you and your little plane, with the light blue sky above and the light blue sky above and the dark blue sea or shining white ice below."
She is an ardent fan of Amelia Earheart
Despite the challenges of flying solo, she says that if given another chance she would take it in a heartbeat, however, she does miss homemade dal and rice; it was the first food item she craved for from home. After undergoing a grueling 7-month training to tackle extreme climatic conditions, high altitudes, and oceanic flying, she also had to under extreme physical and mental education and exercises to prepare herself to fly solo. An ardent fan of the iconic Amelia Earheart, she grew up in Borivali, Mumbai City and is a strong believer in that one should never limit oneself and that there are no limits except the ones we place on ourselves.
Image credit: Hindustan Times