Friday, December 01, 2017

Indian Woman Pilot, Daughter To Glide Around The World In 80 Days

Bengaluru: Mysuru-based flying instructor and ace pilot Captain Audrey Deepika Maben along with her 19-year-old daughter will soon be gliding around the planet covering 21 countries in a span of 80 days.

In a brand new Pipistrel Sinus 912, a single-engine two-seater light motor glider developed by Slovenian light aircraft manufacturer Pipistrel, Captain Maben and daughter Amy Mehta would be covering around 50,000km around the globe, in the expedition that will take off in February 2018.

"This expedition will give wings to many more girls who dream of flying everyday as my daughter and I will be speaking to women and girls from across the countries about flying. We want many more women to take up flying," Maben said.

Maben, 42, took to the skies at the age of 15 as a National Cadet Corps (NCC) member in Bengaluru's Baldwin Girls' High School.

She later enrolled in the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur's gliding centre and obtained her Glider Pilot License and later a Microlight Pilot License, which is required to fly one-or-two-seater aircraft weighing less than 450 kg, all before she turned 22.

Beginning their circumnavigation around the earth in February from New Delhi, the duo will fly eastwards towards Japan, Russia, North America, Greenland, Europe, Middle East and then back to India, stopping in about 21 countries along the way.

The light aircraft can reach a maximum altitude of up to 7,500 feet above sea level. It has a fuel capacity of 60 litres, which makes it necessary to make multiple stops for refuelling for a major exercise like this one.
"The motor glider requires good winds to fly. And since I don't have the required license for night flying, we will be flying only during the day time for about five to six hours each day, and then we'd land in one of the countries along our route map to refuel and rest," Maben stated.

Throughout the trip, Mehta, a photography student, would digitally document the views from the skies and help Maben with navigation.

"I will also be spreading the word about our journey on social media that will help us reach out to women and men across the world," said Mehta.
01/12/17 IANS/NDTV