Image: Vacher
British aviator Polly Vacher, shown in an October photo taken in Buenos Aires, has reached Antarctica nearly halfway through her round-the-world flight, organizers say.

A British pilot attempting to fly a single-engine plane across both poles and around the globe landed in Antarctica on Monday, nearly halfway through her voyage.

Polly Vacher, 59, touched down at an Antarctic research station after an eight-hour flight from Ushuaia, Argentina, a landfall in South America for many ships and planes traveling to the icy continent.

Vacher said she expects to cross New Zealand, Australia, Asia and the Middle East in her orange-and-black Piper Warrior before returning home in March.

She left Scotland on May 6 and has flown over the North Pole, Alaska, North and South America en route to Antarctica.

The trip is an attempt to raise money for World Wings, an English aviation organization that provides flight training to the disabled. Vacher flew around the world in 2001, raising $317,600 for the group.

Vacher is “very glad she’s got one leg under her belt,” said Susie Dunbar, a World Wings spokeswoman. Vacher was resting at an unidentified Antarctic research station, she added.

Vacher arrived in Antarctica after spending more than a month waiting in Ushuaia for good weather. She reached Argentina in early October after hopscotching across the Americas.

Dunbar said the pilot could make the 16-hour flight over Antarctica to the U.S.-run McMurdo research base as early as Thursday. From there she is to fly to New Zealand.

After Antarctica and New Zealand, the flight plan is to take the British pilot to Australia, Asia and the Middle East.

Another female pilot is also striving to fly over the North and South Poles this year.

American Jennifer Murray, 63, was flying by helicopter across Argentina in a bid to become the first pilot to circumnavigate the globe via the poles in a helicopter.

She is hoping to reach the South Pole by mid-December.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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