You heard of the popular 2004 movie `Around the World in 80 Days,’ ? Well, this dare-devil woman Capt Audrey Maben is set to do just that in February 2018, which will be a first-of-its-kind circumnavigation attempt at a World Record, around the Planet, in Mahi a Sinus 912 motor glider, flying across 21 countries, covering 50,000 kms. This is stuff made for the movies.
In a powerful statement of strength to its cause to champion women and give them flight, Social Access Communications in collaboration with Ministry of Women and Child Development, Govt of India, and India’s leading premium Hindi entertainment channel, COLORS, proudly launched ‘WE! Women Empower’ at the Bengaluru, Jakkur Aerodrome. An initiative By, Of and For the Girls and Women of India, to attempt a first-of-its-kind, never before done, circumnavigation around the Planet in a motor glider, by a woman; a mother-daughter duo; an Indian pilot.
The feat already termed as an extraordinary attempt of exemplary courage, mental agility and one-of-its -kind aerosport adventure, will attempt a World Record. It will fly across 21 countries, taking the message of women empowerment, while spear-heading a unique crowd-funding campaign for the `WE! Udaan Scholarship’ to champion, enable and empower under-privileged Indian girls across India who want to fly.
Commending the extraordinary expedition and extending her whole-hearted support, Hon. Minister Women and Child Development, Govt of India, New Delhi, Ms Maneka Sanjay Gandhi in a congratulatory message to the launch event said, “Flight is one of the best symbols of liberation and I am happy to say that Indian women have demonstrated that there is no glass ceiling in the sky time and time again. As many as 11% of our pilots are women, while a country like the US has only 3%.In the Indian Air Force, our girls are already accepted in the cockpit. Endurance flying requires presence of mind, quick decision making, mental strength and impeccable communication – all of which are qualities that would stand our daughters in good stead as they take on the challenges of life.”
While till date no woman pilot has ever flown in a motor glider around the globe, Mysuru based and India’s first female microlight flying instructor, teacher and mother, Capt. Audrey Deepika Maben and her 19-year-old daughter, Amy Mehta will attempt the enviable journey on February 18th next year. With the country cheering her dare-devil spirit to circumnavigate the Planet, they will raise awareness for the scholarship fund and achieve the highest flying honour for Indian women. A first on many fronts for India.
Attempting an act way beyond her peers have ever dreamt, Capt. Audrey Maben took to the skies as a young NCC Cadet at the age of 15. Winning a national competition, the All India Best Girl Glider Pilot in 1993- 94, she decided to pursue gliding by enrolling into the IIT Kanpur Gliding Centre and thereafter obtained her first Glider Pilots License. She then went on to obtain a Microlight Pilots License and set a national flying record by participating in the Air Race India 2003. Besides being the only woman to fly as pilot-in-command during the race, she covered a distance of 2400 kms in five days from Bangalore to Nagpur and back – SOLO in a microlight. A feat established by The Aeroclub of India and listed in the Limca Book of Records. In 2007, Audrey went on to become the country’s first woman flight instructor. A student of Baldwin Girls High School (1991) and Jyoti Nivas (1996), Audrey set up `I Can,’ a school for alternative holistic education in 2008, while continuing to pursue her passion as an Aerosports professional, flying her own microlight planes as a hobby pilot.
Poised to take on the unexpected, an excited Capt. Audrey Maben shared, “To me flying has spelt nothing but freedom. It is pure joy to be airborne. Getting an opportunity to see the world and become one with it, is an elevated state of freedom. This mission will give wings to many more girls like me who dreamt of flying everyday. All dreams can come true. I have been blessed to live my dream,” she added.
To show your support and give flight to India’s daughters and their dreams of flying, donate and contribute generously to the `WE! Udaan Scholarship’ at www.wefly.org.in