23-Year-Old Aarohi Pandit Becomes The World’s First Female Pilot To Fly Solo Across The Atlantic

Written by Chaitra Krishnan, MA (Journalism & Mass Communication)  • 

In a country like ours, where women are considered to be the “weaker” gender, accomplishments and recognitions don’t come easily to the womenfolk. Poverty-stricken parents often refrain from sending their daughters to school so that their son can. Even if they are financially sound, some conservative families would rather have their daughter sit idle at home than receive a formal education. According to them, getting their girls educated can make them “too smart.“ Yes, that’s exactly how most of the parents think or at least used to. And there are certain noble parents who get their girls educated solely because they think that their girl’s qualifications can fetch them a good husband in the future.

It’s harder than it sounds for most of the girls in our country! But there are many women who‘ve fought their way for justice and recognition to become a role model for the rest.

One such woman is the 23-year-old Aarohi Pandit. She set a remarkable level of excellence for women all over the world by owning the title of the first female ever to fly alone across the Atlantic in a Light Sport Aircraft (LSA is known to be a small and compact aircraft) Aarohi’s achievement is not just a remarkable one among the aviation circles, but it’s also an eye-opener for every man and woman out there who think that women are born to serve men and cannot achieve anything else in their lifetime.

Aarohi is a commercial pilot who holds the license to fly LSAs. After flying through dangerous weather and difficult terrains she landed in Iqaluit Airport, Canada on May 13, 2019, thereby creating history. The 3000km long flight wasn’t very easy, but Aarohi managed to get past it with utmost bravery and intelligence.

All About The Record

Image: Instagram @aaarohipandit

Having to fly alone through a terrible situation sounds like a scene right out of a Hollywood thriller, doesn’t it? Aarohi started the journey from Wick, Scotland and took short breaks in Iceland and Greenland. She signed up for the amazing adventure when she and her best friend Keithair Misquitta flew out of India for an extraordinary expedition called Women Empower Expedition. They left India in a small aircraft called Mahi and covered Punjab, Rajasthan, and Gujarat before they landed the aircraft in Pakistan. This was the first time an Indian civilian LSA aircraft landed in Pakistan since 1947! Considering our not so good relationship with the neighboring state, it was a very bold move to land the aircraft there.

After taking off from Pakistan, Aarohi and Keithair flew over Iran, Germany, Slovenia, France, Serbia, and the United Kingdom. The expedition was organized and sponsored by a not-for-profit firm. The firm’s head of Social Access, Lynn de Souza said while talking to IANS, “This is part of her ongoing year-long global circumnavigation flight which was launched with her friend Keithair Misquitta on July 30. Aarohi continued solo from the UK to Canada, and they will return to India by July 30 this year. En route, she set another world record as the first woman pilot to fly solo above the treacherous Greenland ice-cap in an LSA, and is due for at least half a dozen other records by the time she reaches India!”

Image: Instagram

“I am so honored and grateful 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 Aarohi when she was talking about her outstanding achievement. She is a huge fan of Emilia Earheart who was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic 87 years ago. Emilia was flying a bigger aircraft and she created the world record on May 20th, 1932.

The Borivali Girl

Image: Instagram @aaarohipandit

Aarohi Pandit is from Borivali which is situated in northwest Mumbai. It was not magic but her hard-earned experience that helped Aarohi achieve the world record. She had to follow a tedious seven-month training schedule as a part of the preparation for the expedition. The training program that was conducted in India, Italy, Siberia, and Greenland exposed Aarohi to extremely difficult terrains, high altitude, stretches of ocean and snow, unfavorable weather conditions. This was done to make sure that Aarohi was capable of dealing with the challenges that are going to come her way during the real expedition both mentally as well as physically.

Once she landed in Canada after marking her record, she was presented a tricolor flag by Vikas Swarup, the Indian Ambassador to Canada which she proudly exhibited. From Canada, Aarohi will fly towards the west to cover Russia and will be returning home by July 30th. By then she will cover around 37,000 km and we can expect to see a few more record-breaking instances from her.

Image: Instagram

At a tender age of 23, when most of the educated girls in our country are pushed into marriage, Aarohi is writing her name on the sky. If our society gave women more opportunities, it’s definite that we’re going to see many more Aarohis fly into success. What do you think about Aarohi Pandit’s world record? What would you want to achieve in your life? Share your dreams and thoughts with us in the comments section below.

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