Afghan woman flying the world solo is now in Dubai
Waiz plans to have made 30 stops in 18 countries on five continents, covering a total of over 25,000 miles.
Dubai Airport on Thursday welcomed Shaesta Waiz, a 29-year old Afghan aviator on a quest to become the youngest woman to fly around the world solo to promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and aviation education to the next generation of promising youngsters.
By the end of her 90-day voyage in her Beechcraft Bonanza A36 aircraft - which began at Daytona Beach International Airport in Florida on May 13 - Waiz plans to have made 30 stops in 18 countries on five continents, covering a total of over 25,000 miles. At each stop, she will host events she hopes will get young people interested in science. On Sunday, she will host a workshop in Dubai.
Dubai marks here 11th stop, having most recently been in Bahrain, Egypt, Athens, Italy and the United Kingdom. Future planned stops include India, Singapore and Australia. The trip will end where she began, in Florida.
The initiative is led by Dream Soar, a non-profit organiation she founded in 2014 and is supported by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and Airports Council International.
Waiz, who was born in a refugee camp following the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, immigrated to the United States in 1987. There, she discovered a passion for aviation and worked to be obtain her pilot license, becoming the youngest certified female pilot from her home country.
"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," the AFP quoted Waiz as saying during a stopover in Montreal in May. "What's important is finding your passion and going after it."
According to ICAO statistics, fewer than five per cent of all commercial pilots are female.
"Every time I open the door of an aircraft, I ask myself 'How did a girl with my background become so lucky? The truth is, anyone can be me'," reads a message from Waiz on the Facebook page of Dreams Soar.
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