Mysuru mother-daughter duo to circumnavigate earth in 80 days

Mysuru mother-daughter duo to circumnavigate earth in 80 days
Come February, Mysuru-based mother-daughter duo Audrey Maben and Amy Mehta will be taking off on an expedition to circumnavigate the earth in 80 days in a motor glider with the hope to set a world record and inspire other women.

The expedition was announced at the Jakkur Aerodrome on Wednesday. The journey is conceptualised by Social Access Communications as part of their campaign ‘WE! Women Empower’ and is supported by a private TV channel and the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development.

Audrey, who started flying gliders in Jakkur as a 15-year-old NCC cadet, was the first woman microlight aircraft instructor in the country. She also set a record as the only woman ultralight pilot in the Air Race India in 2003.

Nineteen-year-old Amy has flown beside her mother from when she was a child and she is excited to be with her on this mission.

“I will be my mother’s eyes and ears during the journey. I will be looking after social media, where we will post about our journey,” she said.

Amy is a photography student and she will be taking special leave to be on this expedition. “I will be taking pictures and I hope to bring out a photography book at the end of the trip,” she said.

To circumnavigate the earth, one has to cut across every longitude and cover at least 37,000 km. A team will be planning the entire trip including the route for them. The journey will be limited to the northern hemisphere and the women will go over 21 countries, flying eastwards.

The duo will be travelling in a Sinus Pipistrel 912 engine ultralight motor glider, which has been imported from Slovenia.

Since the aircraft has an endurance of 4.5 hours in good weather conditions, they will not be flying for more than four to five hours at a stretch. The journey will be taken up only during the day as Audrey is not cleared for night flying or instrument flying.

Audrey is now on a nutrition programme and is undergoing strength and endurance training to prepare for the physically and mentally demanding journey. “I am also preparing my children and family for this trip, because everybody perceives this journey as a risk. But I say the roads are much more dangerous than the skies,” Audrey said.

She hopes to empower young girls and women by showing them that they can also fly. The campaign has a crowdfunding drive to create ‘We! Udaan Scholarships’ to support underprivileged girls who want to fly.

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