World / Newsmakers

Pilot aims to be first Chinese woman to circle globe

By Tuo Yannan in Paris ( Updated: 2016-08-15 09:33

Pilot aims to be first Chinese woman to circle globe

Chen Jingxian and her airplane in New York. Photo provided to

Not everybody gets to fulfil their dreams, but 31-year-old Chen Jingxian, from a small town in Sichuan province, is well on the way to living hers - to be the first Chinese woman to circumnavigate the world.

She spoke exclusively to China Daily after her recent arrival in Paris, accompanied by her crew and an essential traveling companion, Ebony, a stuffed toy cat.

Flying in a tiny single-engined Beech Bonanza A26, Chen left Cleveland, Ohio on August 1, with stops in New York, Boston, Canada, Greenland and Iceland before reaching Paris earlier this month. After Paris she will touch down in Spain, Italy, Greece, Egypt, traversing Saudi Arabia to Dubai, before hopping from India via Thailand to China.

She is still applying for permission to land in China, and after a brief stop in her homeland, she plans to head for Japan and Russia before re-entering the US by way of Alaska.

That's some trip for a girl who'd never been to a big city until she went to university in Beijing at the age of 18.

It was in Beijing that she read the classic flying books such as "Wind, Sand and Stars" and "Night Flight" written by the legendary French pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupery, who also wrote "The Little Prince" fairy tale.

Reading those books, a plan started to emerge.

"His experience made me want to know how to fly, and what is the feeling of flying around the world," Chen said.

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