ZHUHAI, Guangdong, China--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AOPA China, a chapter of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (“AOPA”), on the first day of AirShow China 2016, honored pioneer aviatrix Julie (Zheng) Wang as the first Chinese person to complete a solo circumnavigation of the globe in an aircraft.
Wang, a married mother of one, also became the first Chinese woman to fly around the world, a feat for which AOPA China will award Wang 1,000,000 Yuan Renminbi (CNY).
The 1,800 hour airline transport pilot and flight instructor departed Addison, TX, on August 17th and returned to Addison on September 19th, closing the circle in 155 flight hours over 18 flight days in a single piston-engine (propeller) aircraft.
Angela Guo, Deputy Chairman of AOPA China, praised Wang’s achievement, “As the first Chinese woman to fly around the world, Wang Zheng’s accomplishment is amazing. She is setting aviation world-records not only with demonstrated piloting skill but with strength of character, physical stamina and courage. She flew these 40,000 kilometers around the world completely alone, completely solo, in the real sense of the words 'solo flight,' accompanied by no one. No other Chinese person has ever attempted such a flight. She is the epitome of what we strive for in human achievement, and fully represents the best of the Chinese spirit. She has my deepest admiration and respect.”
Claude Meunier, who heads Australia-based earthrounders.com, a register of pilots who have flown around the world in light aircraft, congratulated Wang on her accomplishment, “Julie, welcome to the world of the Earthrounders, a very unique breed of pilots... [W]e consider you the first Chinese pilot to have flown solo around the world and the first Chinese woman around the world. And once again, sincere congratulations for your unique achievement.”
Martin Robinson, CEO of AOPA UK and IAOPA’s Senior Vice-President, also praised Wang's accomplishment, “As an embodiment of Chinese spirit and an example of how one’s potential can be achieved through passion, hard work and great determination.” Robinson emphasized that, “Julie’s example lights the way for Chinese young people, showing them that limits are our own creations. Julie is already a hero and role-model to many Chinese young people and deservedly so.”
After pausing for two weeks in Merced, California, where all the aircraft’s seats except her own were removed and replaced with additional fuel tanks, Wang departed for Honolulu on September 2nd, covering 2,160 nautical miles on her first (and longest) oceanic leg. Her mid-Pacific route then took her to the Marshall Islands, Guam and the Philippines before landing in China.
From China, she overflew Vietnam and Laos to land in Pattaya, Thailand, and then overflew Myanmar and Bangladesh, crossing the Bay of Bengal and then most of India, to land at Ahmedabad.
From India, she flew through the Middle East, landing in the U.A.E. (Abu Dhabi) and overflying Pakistan, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and then into and across the Mediterranean, landing at Crete and Malta before reaching the Atlantic coast at Lisbon.
Leaving Portugal, Wang recalled, “The ocean turned a pure, deep blue that I had never seen before. Night fell on the way to St. Johns [Newfoundland] and the cloud cover below me was lit by bright moonlight, creating a white carpet to drive on all the way back to North America.”