British Pilot Hopes To Circumnavigate Earth On Polar Route
Polly Vacher is leaving the comforts of her
Oxfordshire home to embark on a brave attempt to become the first
solo pilot to circumnavigate the world via the North and South
poles in a single-engine light aircraft.
The 58-year-old pilot, who is raising money for Flying
Scholarships for the Disabled, is sponsored by Shell Aviation and
will begin the journey on 6 May from Birmingham International
Her route sees her fly across Norway, the North Pole and Canada
to the United States where she will attend the Oshkosh Air Show in
Wisconsin, the world's largest rally of light aircraft. This year's
show, held July 29 to August 4, promises to be even more
spectacular than previous years because 2003 marks the 100th
anniversary of powered flight.
Mrs. Vacher continues through Central and South America to the
South Pole. She will then fly back to England via Australia, New
Zealand, South East Asia, India, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. The
stop in Jordan holds special significance because King Hussein, the
country's former king who died in 1999, was a patron of Flying
Scholarships for the Disabled. Her Majesty Queen Noor of the
Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is now a patron of the charity.
She said: "King Hussein helped to establish the charity in
memory of Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader a pilot who lost both
legs in an accident but went on to fly with tin legs and become an
ace pilot in World War II."
Flying Scholarships for the Disabled uses the intellectual
challenge of learning to fly to help the disabled prove to others,
and themselves, that they can regain their confidence and face
exciting new adventures.
Mrs Vacher's own passion for flight began in 1989 when she
completed a tandem sky dive for charity. "I became hooked on sky
diving and have completed 245 jumps but nothing would convince my
husband to jump out of a plane. We like doing things together so we
both took up flying instead."
She has already circumnavigated the world once before in 2001
and takes any nervousness regarding her upcoming journey in her
stride. "I wouldn't be human if I didn't feel nervous so I keep
very, very busy and I prepare very, very well. Attention to detail