On May 13th, pilot Shaesta Waiz embarked on the first leg of a 30-destination solo flight, which, if she completes, will make her the youngest woman to pilot a solo trip around the world.
29-year-old Shaesta, who was born in a refugee camp in Afghanistan, flew her first plane at the age of 18. This current trip-- her longest yet--will take her to 18 countries and five continents.
The purpose of the journey isn't just to shatter world records, but to inspire young girls, too. The website for her trip explains her mission: "inspire the next generation of STEM and aviation professionals, GLOBALLY!"
Currently the youngest certified civilian female aviator from Afghanistan, Shaesta moved to the US as a child, where she later earned her piloting license.
✈️✨Raw footage from Shaesta as she ferries our bonanza from George Baker Aviation in New Smyrna back to home base at @sheltairaviation! ✅Aircraft readiness ✅tanking ✈️🌎 Launch event....here we come! ‼️Make sure to RSVP at DreamsSoar.org‼️ 🛩 Thank you partners and followers! #STEMsoars #globalflight #wesoar #girlsfly #iamwai #wca #empower #inspire #stem #aviation #dreamssoar #flight #earthrounder #dreamteam #soloflight #femalepilot
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She was hooked after discovering aviation as a teen, and hopes to bring more awareness to women in the typically male-dominated field.
"When I found my passion — flying — that's when I started to challenge myself. I started to read. I started to do better in maths. I started to look at the world differently, the sky differently," she told HuffPost. "A lot of people in aviation have this moment when they discover it. It's so magical. It's amazing."
Along her route, she plans on hosting 15 outreach events, speaking to girls and women in aviation and other STEM fields. Is your city on her list? Check it out right here! We're rooting for her every step of the way!