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Young Afghani Woman Takes Off to Pilot Plane Around World [复制链接]

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发表于 2017-5-16 11:42:55 |显示全部楼层
本帖最后由 XLC 于 2017-5-16 12:05 编辑

May 14--DAYTONA BEACH -- Shaesta Waiz, who is said to be the first certified civilian pilot from Afghanistan, took off Saturday for a three-month trip around the globe in a single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza A36. Waiz, a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, was thronged by family, friends and supporters as she waved from the cockpit just prior to gliding down the runway at the Daytona Beach airport. Here is her story and why she is making the some 25,000-mile journey.



Her background


Waiz was only a year old when she and her family fled their home country in 1987 to escape the Soviet-Afghan war. She grew up in Richmond, California, with her parents and five sisters. Waiz, who feared flying when she was younger, said that she first got bit by the aviation bug when, at 17, she took a commercial flight.


"That fear turned into a rush of excitement," she said. "From there, I decided to pursue a career in aviation and I haven't looked back."


The mission


Waiz, 29, said that she struggled to belong when she first entered aviation.


"I would look around and there weren't really many women who looked like me in this field," she said. "What kept me going was my passion for flying."


When she first dreamed up the journey, she met with Geraldine "Jerrie" Mock, who in 1964 became the first woman to fly solo around the globe. During the trip, Waiz will carry a commemorative coin of Mock, who died in 2014. Waiz said that she hopes her flight will inspire other girls to enter the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.


"The STEM industry is booming," she said. "It's time for women to rise up, and I hope I can help pave the way so future generations of women won't have to fight so much."


Her credentials


Waiz received both her bachelor's and master's degrees from Embry-Riddle. She has her commercial pilot's license with an instrument rating, meaning that she can fly solely by her instruments.


"Being up in the air when it is just silent and it's just you that airplane propelling forward," she said. "It's such an incredible feeling."


The plane


Waiz is flying a 2001 Beechcraft Bonanza A36. The aircraft's cruising speed is about 163 knots, though she will likely fly mostly at 150 knots, which equates to 170 mph, because of extra fuel tanks stowed within the plane. The plane will reach between 9,000 to 11,000 feet in the air.


Mike Shekari, the maintenance director for the flight, said that Waiz will need a lot of "endurance and patience."


The itinerary


Waiz's trip is expected to take about 90 days. Her route includes 34 stops in 18 countries on five continents. She won't be landing in Afghanistan, but she will travel there when she reaches Dubai, she said. The longest and likely hardest leg will be some 2,000 miles from Hawaii to California.


"That leg is going to be very long, maybe 14 or 15 hours long," she said, "I'll need to do a lot of fuel monitoring and stay awake and alert."


The final countdown


There were lots of hugs and kisses leading up to Waiz climbing into the cockpit. Then, the several dozen people crowded the edge of the airplane hangar to watch as the plane climbed into the grey skies. Among those watching was her eldest sister, Monijya Waiz.


"She represents the women in Afghanistan," she said. "The people that did not get this opportunity. We are grateful that she got to follow her dream. It's big and it's inspiring."


Follow her trip


You can follow her journey: http://dreamssoar.org/route/

___ (c)2017 The News-Journal, Daytona Beach, Fla. Visit The News-Journal, Daytona Beach, Fla. at www.news-journalonline.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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