15 Sep Dreams Soar: Longest Flight Leg Completed!
Female Pilot Completes Pacific Ocean Crossing on Solo Flight for STEM
Daytona Beach, Fla. September 15, 2017: Shaesta Waiz has accomplished a historic Pacific Ocean crossing, flying solo from Honolulu, Hawaii to Hayward, California, piloting a single-engine aircraft a total of 2119 nautical miles in 14 hours, 30 minutes. This was the longest leg on her flight around the globe to inspire the next generation of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and aviation professionals.
Waiz is flying around the world to promote STEM and aviation education to encourage women to believe in themselves and allow their dreams to soar. The global solo flight launched May 13, 2017 from Daytona Beach International Airport, Sheltair Aviation’s fixed-based operation, in a single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza A36. The route has taken her to five continents and 20 countries, and Waiz has flown more than 22,500 nautical miles to inspire over 2,300 children and young adults.
“Shaesta came to me late 2013 with the Dream to fly around the world. Standing by her, with our entire team of amazing, talented STEM and aviation professionals today, watching a Dream take flight, brings hope to so many children globally, and is nothing short of an outstanding achievement. We are all very proud of her crossing and the longest leg completed,” expressed Lyndse Costabile, Chairwoman, board of directors.
By the time the Dreams Soar Global Flight for STEM ends later this month with Waiz’s return home to Daytona Beach, FL, she will have flown more than 25,000 nautical miles in total. But it’s nothing compared to the journey this 30-year-old aviator has already persevered.
Born in a refugee camp in Afghanistan in 1987, Waiz and her family fled to America to escape the brutal Soviet-Afghan war, which was ripping the two nations apart. One of six sisters in her family, Waiz was raised in Richmond, California, where she discovered an interest in aviation.
While a student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Waiz founded the Women’s Ambassadors Program in 2011 to increase female enrollment through a modeled mentor program. In less than three years, under her leadership, the program helped increase female enrollment from 13 to 22 percent. With a mission to encourage more women to pursue STEM and aviation-related degrees, Dreams Soar was started in 2014 by Waiz, and the team celebrated its first year operating as an established nonprofit organization with the launch of the global flight.
“This moment is dedicated to the dreamers, the believers, the ones who aren’t afraid to go after their dreams and fight for them to Soar,” Waiz shared upon her landing at KHWD airport.
For more information on Waiz and the Dreams Soar team, visit Dreams Soar’s website: www.dreamssoar.org .