Aviatrix bids to become first Chinese woman to fly solo round the world

Updated: 2016-08-15 09:33

By Tuo Yannan in Paris(chinadaily.com.cn)

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Aviatrix bids to become first Chinese woman to fly solo round the world

Chen Jingxian, Larry Rohl and Richard Rohl in front of their airplane Bonanza A36 in France. [Photo by Tuo Yannan/chinadaily.com.cn]

She left Beijing in 2011 and headed for New York to study for her Masters degree in law. There, she set about learning to fly, heading each weekend on a bus journey lasting several hours. Whether or not she could fly depend on the area's variable weather.

Chen made it and with 300m flying hours under her belt, starting approaching rental companies in order to get an aircraft. Over 20 rejection letters later Air Z Charter and T&G Flying Club, run by Richard Rohl, invited her to a meeting.

"I was very sceptical about the letter Chen sent me at the beginning," said Rohl. "The reason I replied is although we receive many request letters, hers was the most unique."

Rohl asked Amanda Lincoln, one of the club's student pilots, to meet Chen in New York and check her out. The Chinese lawyer and the New York school teacher immediately hit it off.

"From the first meeting we connected immediately because we share the same love for flying," said Lincoln. "Female pilots are a rare commodity in the world, not only in the US but internationally. She is legitimate, educated and determined.

"Chen is not only a role model to me, she is also setting a good standard for other women to recognise and respect for reaching out and achieving their highest dreams," Lincoln added.

In fact, Lincoln was so impressed by Chen that she's joined her for the trip, taking care of media and administrative tasks.

They are joined by Richard Rohl and his father Larry, founder of the T&G Aviation School and a veteran pilot with 40,000 flying hours amassed over 50 years of piloting. He is the designated safety pilot, which means he will be in charge of checking Chen's fuel and navigation calculations. Richard will be the backup safety pilot, and will take care of instrumentation and technical matters. Chen will be doing the flying but in case of an emergency, Larry and Richard will be on hand.