In a remarkable feat, 22-year-old Aarohi Pandit and 24-year-old Keithair Misquitta from Mumbai have become India’s first women pilot to circumnavigate the earth in a light sports aircraft called ‘Mahi.’ The girls embarked on the journey on August 7 and flew the aircraft for 12,900 km in 27 hops, covering over 17 countries. This one of a kind expedition has, however, temporarily been aborted because of the weather conditions in Greenland but will resume next year in March.
A goal with a cause
The idea was conceptualized by Social Access Communications along with the Ministry of Women and Child Development. The main aim of the expedition was to gather funds for the WE! Udaan scholarship. Udaan is India’s regional connectivity programme that teaches underprivileged girls to learn and earn from flying. The goal was to fly the all-women crew over 22 countries in 84 grueling legs for 100 days, over land, mountain, sea, and ice and set a world record.
Keithair told the Mumbai Mirror that never in their wildest dreams did they think that they would go across the world in a small non-commercial flight meant for leisure flying. “It was a huge challenge. We were just two girls flying with two bags full of aircraft tools!” she added.
Aarohi Pandit also became the first Indian woman pilot to have flown solo over the Atlantic Ocean in the light sports aircraft when the girls had to separate in Scotland. To fly over water for more than five hours, the aircraft needed to have a full tank, safety gear, life raft, and food and water. Since it would have increased the weight of the small Pipistrel Sinus 912, Aarohi was given the go-ahead for solo flying.
The mission was temporarily called off when Aarohi flew to Greenland and experienced terrible weather conditions. The girls have now returned to Mumbai amidst teary welcome from family. We wish them all the luck for their next journey in 2019.
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