BENGALURU: You must be confident and alert, and have a sense of precision and a certain madness to fly a plane, especially a microlight flight, says captain Audrey Deepika Maben. Audrey, who did her schooling in Baldwin Girls High School and graduated from Jyoti Nivas in 1996, is the country’s first woman flight instructor and has created a national flying record as the only woman pilot in command to participate in Air Race India 2003. Her next amazing feat will be flying a microlight plane all around the world in about 80 days with her 19-year-old daughter Amy Maben.
One of her biggest worries during the travel is "how will I pee?", she laughs while speaking at a press conference held at Jakkur aerodrome on Wednesday. "I have to pee multiple times and I can't do it in the cockpit. So, I'll have to use adult diapers," she says.
While speaking to City Express, she adds that she would be carrying chocolate bars and toffees and some water. "I can live in the same clothes for three to four days. I am not worried about the logistics much as we can also buy them from the local markets while we stop over," she says adding that more weight in the cockpit will burn more fuel. So, it is important to have less weight and use the fuel to cover more distance.
Though the entire trip, starting February 18, 2018, is planned in 80 days, she says it could even be longer depending on the weather conditions and stops to refuel. And as her licence does not cover flying in the night, they will be landing before sunset every day. She says, "We will start in India, pass through Japan, Russia followed by Alaska, North America and Iceland. We will then reach Eurpoean countries and continue to Iran and pass by Pakistan before landing back in India."Audrey is looking forward to crossing over Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. The expedition is risky but Audrey laughs it off saying skies are safer than roads in Bengaluru.
Childhood dream comes true
Audrey has always dreamt of flying every day since her childhood. She says, "I would fantasise about it. I have always told my daughter, even when she was a baby, that I would like to fly around the world with her as my navigator." Audrey has named her daughter after Amy Johnson, the first female pilot to fly alone from Britain to Australia. Amy says, "I am thrilled to be flying with her. I am excited about visiting Paris, the Eiffel tower with my mother." The duo has been training for physical and mental fitness, and have been following a strict nutritional plan as well. They will be flying about six to eight hours every day covering over 27 countries with 54 stops.
Daughter plans photobook
Amy, a photography student, will document the journey and is planning to create a photobook. She will be carrying her camera and a small notebook to note down some interesting experiences or observations. Though the duo have planned to cover it in 80 days after the name of the book Around the World in 80 days by Jules Verne, they say they are not fan of his work. Audrey instead suggests Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull. "Even if you are not an aviator, you should read this book. It uplifts your soul," she says.