Mumbai girl Aarohi Pandit flies Atlantic, Pacific solo

Pandit landed at Anadyr Airport in the Chukhotka Far East region of Russia at 01.54 UTC on August 21, 2019.

Twenty-three-year-old Mumbai girl Aarohi Pandit made history once again when she become the world’s first woman pilot to cross both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans solo in a Light-Sport Aircraft.

She landed at Anadyr Airport in the Chukhotka Far East region of Russia at 01.54 UTC on August 21, 2019.

She flew from Unilalakleet, Alaska, USA to Anadyr, (North America) in two legs, stopping at the historic town of Nome. 

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, and also the first woman to fly all across Canada from the North East to the North West via the South.

The Pacific Crossing was the most significant sector of the WE Women Empower circumnavigation, marking its entry into a new country, a new continent and a new day. It began at Unilalakleet, Alaska.

A total of 1,100 kms over the Bering Sea concluded at Anadyr in Far East Russia, after a stop at Nome, Alaska.

Along the way, Aarohi flew across the International Date Line, also called the Line of Confusion when the date changes, and all instruments fail for a few minutes. For the main leg of the crossing, Aarohi took off at Nome at 2 pm on Tuesday, August 20 and after three hours and fifty minutes, she landed at 1.54 pm on Wednesday, August 21 at Anadyr.

“I have lost one day of my life which I will never get back,’ she said humorously, “a fact I will always treasure. The Pacific Ocean was more beautiful than the Atlantic and the flight was one of my most enjoyable. I’m so honoured and grateful that I am achieving these records for my country and for women everywhere.”

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 Light Sport Aircraft (LSA),  according to a press statement.

The aircraft, called Mahi, is a tiny single engine Sinus 912 plane weighing less than a Bullet bike, manufactured by Pipistrel Slovenia, and is the first LSA registered by India’s DGCA.
Aarohi set course for the Expedition with her fellow pilot and best friend Keithair Misquitta on July 30 last year. They flew Mahi 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 Oceanic Crossings, Aarohi undertook the rest of the expedition solo. She was accompanied by Pipistrel Canada President, Jonas Boll, for photography over the Rocky Mountains in Canada, and will have a woman navigator, Olga Eroshenko, on board as stipulated by the Russian Civil Aviation regulator, for the Russian legs.

Preparing for the expedition and specifically for the solo flights over the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Greenland icecap, and the whimsical Canadian weather, hasn’t been easy. It included a rigorous seven-month regimen of extreme weather, oceanic and high-altitude flying along with various physical and mental exercises aimed at helping her take on the hardest terrain and weather conditions while all alone in the cockpit.

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