A Chinese woman on a round-the-world mission took a detour from the original flightpath on Tuesday to stop by her hometown in southwest China’s Sichuan Province.
Chen Jingxian, 31, is the first female pilot to have embarked on such mission who got the permission to land in China as a stop. Chen’s dream to explore the world was sowed after reading French pilot and writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s “Wind, Sand and Stars (Terre des hommes)” and “Night Flight (Vol de Nuit).”
“This motivated me to learn flying an aircraft.” Chen said. In 2011 Chen went to New York to pursue a graduate law degree. She joined a flying school on the sideline. After getting her flying certification, Chen’s dream however didn’t take off smoothly. Nearly 20 airplane companies rejected her proposal before Richard Rohl from Air Z Charter and T&G Flying
Club finally set up an appointment to meet Chen.
Rohl, along with another student pilot from the club, was so impressed by Chen that they decided not only to accept her proposal but also tag along. Ruhl’s father, founder of the T&G Aviation School and a veteran pilot, also joined.
On August 1, Chen took off on a Beech Bonanza A36, a tiny single-engine aircraft produced by Beechcraft, from Cleveland, Ohio. Chen flies the plane while the others accompany her to facilitate her journey. Chen estimates that it will take them approximately 45 to 60 days to complete the journey.