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In a moment of pride for the nation, Captain Aarohi Pandit, a 23-year old pilot from Mumbai became the world's first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean in a light sport aircraft (LSA). A light-sport aircraft (LSA) is a fairly new category of small, lightweight aircraft.
As she landed at Iqaluit Airport in Canada on Monday midnight, after a gruelling 3,000 km long flight, under adverse and extreme weather conditions, following the take-off from Wick, Scotland (United Kingdom), with brief stopovers in Greenland and Iceland, she achieved her extraordinary feat. She was a part of Women Empower Expedition - the first all-women team to circumnavigate the world in LSA.
Lynn de Souza, head of Social Access, a not-for-profit communications firm which organised and sponsored the expedition said: 'En route she set another world record as the first woman pilot to fly solo above the treacherous Greenland ice-cap in a LSA, and is due for at least half a dozen other records by the time she reaches India."
Pandit, a commercial pilot and LSA licence holder left India on the Women Empower (WE) Expedition in the tiny aircraft named 'Mahi' along with her friend Keithair Misquitta .
'Mahi' is a tiny, single-engine Sinus 912 weighing a little of 400 kg or nearly equivalent to a Bullet motorcycle, manufactured by Pipistrel of Slovenia, and is also the first LSA registered by Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) India.
After landing in Iqaluit, Pandit proudly exhibited the Indian Tricolour presented to her by the Indian Ambassador to Canada Vikas Swarup.
After a brief sojourn in Canada, the WE Expedition will continue with Pandit flying westwards to Russia, cross many a longitudes and hurdles, create or break more records, before she finally returns home by July 30, after clocking in around 37,000 km.
Best wishes flowed for her from all corners of the country after her achievement, while Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant congratulated her terming it an achievement for Indian women, Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi took to Twitter to express that it a proud moment for the country.