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 and Larry Rohl are checking their Paris to Spain route on flight APP before their flight in Paris. [Photo by Tuo Yannan/chinadaily.com.cn]

"Flying round the world is something that many pilots would like to do, my son Richard and I had the same dream that one day we would fly round the world. However, like so many people, when you have a business, you don't have time to chase your dreams. Chen shook us and woke us up to fulfil our dreams," said Larry Rohl.

Chen Wei, from Changsha in Hunan, was the first Chinese to circumnavigate the world, flying a Franco-American designed Socata TBM 700 single-engined turboprop for 25,000 miles through 21 countries, stopping at 39 cities in 2011.

His choice of an aircraft influenced Chen - she and her team opted for a piston-engined plane, built in 1975, although Richard Rohl explained: "The A36 is more difficult to fly than Chen Wei's turboprop, because the A36 is smaller and slower."

Chen Wei met the girl bidding to become the first Chinese woman to fly round the world before she and her team set off.

Said Larry: "Meeting a young lady like Chen, who is very personable and intelligent, and shared this same dream, was wonderful.

"She made me look back at myself when I was her age. It's nice that we can be part of that dream to be the first Chinese lady to fly around the world," he added.

Chen Wei himself has put up a prize of 1 million yuan for the first successful circumnavigation attempt by a woman.

There is another competitor, according to an earlier media report, a professional pilot named Wang Zheng, who has not yet started.

Chen estimates it will take between 45 to 60 days to fly the journey, on a budget of 10,000 US dollars. To make ends meet, she has borrowed from family and friends.

Now a corporate lawyer, Chen divides her professional time between New York and Shanghai, and jokingly described herself as a "weekend pilot."

To contact the reporter:tuoyannan@chinadaily.com.cn