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Exclusive: Meet Aarohi Pandit, First Indian Woman Pilot to Fly Solo Over The Atlantic

Aarohi Pandit flew a light sports aircraft over the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans to become first Indian Woman Pilot to fly solo and has now completed her Airbus A320 training.

Exclusive: Meet Aarohi Pandit, First Indian Woman Pilot to Fly Solo Over The Atlantic Image for representation

Captain Aarohi Pandit, an Indian aviator, is known for redefining the boundaries of women's achievements in the aviation industry. Having made history as the first Indian woman to accomplish a solo flight across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, Captain Pandit has now successfully completed her A320 type training. At just 26 years of age, Captain Aarohi Pandit holds an impressive array of accomplishments and has now transitioned from flying light-sport aircraft to an Airbus A320, completing her training from Pier Seven Aviation Academy, a division of Sky One FZE. We got in touch with Aarohi Pandit, to understand more about her journey and more:

Journey to become world's first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic

I was a mere 21 years old when the Navy Blue Foundation selected me for an extraordinary expedition. At that time, I had just obtained my commercial pilot's license, with only a handful of flying hours under my belt. However, when the opportunity presented itself, I couldn't turn it down. I embarked on two months of rigorous expedition training with Pipistrel in Serbia, starting from the very fundamentals of ultralight flying. And a few months later, I found myself ready to embark on a journey around the world.

Initially, I had no idea of the remarkable records I would set during this expedition. My love for flying was the sole reason I agreed to be a part of it. Later, as I became aware of the significance of my journey, I felt an overwhelming sense of pride in putting my homeland, India, on the global aviation map. The flights were undeniably challenging, both physically and mentally.

I endured long hours in a cramped seat without the luxury of a restroom. My most extended flight stretched to 6 hours, taking me from Iceland to Greenland, where I encountered treacherous weather and rain. Nevertheless, it stands as one of my favorite flights from the expedition because it afforded me the unparalleled experience of flying in close proximity to glaciers and skimming low over the Atlantic Ocean.

How did you prepare yourself mentally and physically for your solo flights?

The initial few flights proved to be challenging, and in retrospect, I believe I may have overprepared for them. As I previously mentioned, my flying experience was quite limited when I embarked on this expedition, and I found myself crossing international borders on a daily basis. Navigating through the diverse VFR (visual flight rules) requirements of each country and landing on vast international runways was an entirely new experience for me.

Fortunately, I have an exceptional team by my side, providing invaluable support every step of the way. Undoubtedly, an expedition of this magnitude places significant demands on one's mental and physical fitness. Maintaining peak physical condition is imperative for enduring the rigors of long-haul flights, especially when confined to a small seat and flying solo.

Moreover, the solitude of the skies can become monotonous, making it essential to engage in activities to stay alert and avoid nodding off. To combat the monotony and stay sharp, I adopted a routine of evening runs and indulged in comedy shows to rejuvenate after each flight. And, of course, relishing good food and coffee became essential rituals during this incredible journey.

Why become a commercial pilot for an Airbus A320?

I've harbored a lifelong aspiration to pilot large jets. My fascination with this field was ignited by the sight of an Air India jumbo jet, specifically the Boeing 747, which is when my passion for aviation truly took flight. While I've enjoyed my experiences with ultralight flying, my ultimate aim has always been to venture into commercial aviation. My decision to opt for Airbus as my preferred aircraft type is rooted in several compelling reasons, including its significant demand within the Indian aviation industry and its well-established reputation for being the safest and most efficient choice.

How was the A320 simulator training at the Sky One FZE's Pier 7 Aviation?

Prior to my journey to the UAE for training, I was filled with apprehension. Transitioning from handling aircraft weighing 500 kg to a colossal 77 tons was a daunting prospect. However, my anxiety was quickly alleviated by the exceptional arrangements made by Pier Seven Aviation. The accommodations provided were exceptionally comfortable, and our package included all essential amenities such as food and transportation.

Upon commencing our ground school on the first day, we were warmly welcomed and given a comprehensive tour of the state-of-the-art simulator training center. The ground classes proved to be exceptionally informative, equipping us with invaluable knowledge about the Airbus A320. We embarked on this journey from the very basics, thoroughly preparing us for the upcoming simulator training sessions. Of course, the most thrilling aspect of our training was the hands-on experience in the simulator.

I consider myself fortunate to have been assigned flying slots with my simulator trainer, Captain Christofedas, an Airbus veteran with an astounding 35 years of experience. His guidance and wealth of knowledge were instrumental in helping me progress in my flying training. My training experience at Pier Seven with Sky One FZE was nothing short of exceptional. Captain Abhishek and his dedicated team were consistently available and supportive throughout the entire process.

Key factors to consider while choosing a pilot training academy

The most important thing is to choose a training facility with transparency. It is important to know every detail regarding the academy and the facilities provided by them. Aviation is an expensive field. It's necessary to put your money in the right place and to gain as many benefits as possible. The training environment also plays an important role. The flight training academy should have its own training facility with all the necessary equipment, like a classroom, briefing rooms, and simulator training rooms. Well-trained and experienced instructors. Who will be a guiding light during your journey to becoming an excellent aviator.