Around the world in 80 days

Mother-daughter duo to do a modern day Phileas Fogg in circumnavigating the globe.

Capt. Audrey Maben, a 42-year-old hobby pilot and her youngest daughter Amy will attempt to be the first women to fly around the world in a motor glider. They have set March 10 as the date they will take off from the flag off in Hyderabad.

The mission - ‘WE’ — is backed by the Ministry of Women and Child Development along with the Hindustan Group of Institutions, Chennai that has extended a helping hand to the duo for their first ever circumnavigation.

“We are planning to touch mainly the northern hemisphere continents — Asia, North America partly and Europe. We are planning out such a route so that we don’t have to cover the prolonged mountain ranges. To travel 21 countries, we are going to leave from Kolkata airport, then Bangladesh, and then some South-Asian countries like Thailand, Malaysia, may be Singapore, Philippines and reach Japan. From Japan we have to reach northern Russia, from Russia we have to cross the Pacific and terrain of Alaska. After reaching East Canada, again cut across North America and Atlantic ocean and the trip will take us to the range of cold countries like Greenland, Iceland, Fano island and enter the UK from Paris and then cut across eastern Asian countries like Turkey and Iran and slowly get back to India through Jaipur,” explains Audrey.

School children, awestruck while listening to the story of the adventurous mother-daughter, may have started dreaming already about their own adventures. Amy, being Audrey’s teenage daughter, has always flown beside her mother. She trained with a hang-glider and when 9- years-old she got to fly with her mom in a light fixed-wing aircraft, called motor glider, before coming to the niche aero sport category. When Audrey was 15 years old she fell in love with a glider and started her career as a passionate flyer.

Captain Audrey and Amy, the mother-duo are planning their flight with a very basic and handy aircraft, Mahi, having maximum fuel capacity of 60 litres. They will be instructed by Air Beam commando Rahul Monga, her aircraft mentor. On a full tank, the flyer can be in the air for a maximum of four and half hours. They have to plan their journeys keeping the weather in mind. Cutting across each and every one of 360 longitudes may take them a maximum 90 days. ‘Mahi’ is a Sinus 912 aircraft that’s smaller than the size of an average kitchen and can fly with less fuel.

A handful of women in India got together and formed ‘WE’! (Women’s Expedition). ‘WE’ thought about the fact why not somebody from the Indian women’s community attempt a record-breaking adventure like this. One day Audrey was asked, “Will you be able to fly around the world in a motor glider, as no woman from India has done this before. Do you want to do it”? Audrey replied, “Yes! I won’t mind trying a hand at this.”

The expedition is to raise awareness of the fact that women can also try to set an example, ‘WE’ can help by providing scholarships to young aspiring girls through ‘Udaan Scheme’, a crowd-funded project.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
Next Story