Shaesta Waiz, the young woman flying around the world to promote STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and aviation education for women, accomplished a historic crossing on September 14, flying solo from Honolulu to Hayward, California, in 14 hours, 30 minutes. The 2,119-nautical-mile flight was the longest leg of her flight around the globe. She completed her around-the-world flight a week later, landing in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Waiz, 30, launched on her global odyssey on May 13, 2017, from Daytona Beach International Airport in Florida. She flew a single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza A36. The route took her to 20 countries, across five continents, and more than 24,500 nautical miles.
Born in a refugee camp in Afghanistan in 1987, Waiz and her family fled to the United States to escape the Soviet-Afghan war. One of six sisters, she was raised in Richmond, California. While a student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, Waiz founded the Women’s Ambassadors Program in 2011 with a goal to increase female enrollment in aviation programs through a modeled mentor program. Under her leadership, enrollment in aviation programs nationwide increased from 13 percent to 22 percent, according to her website Dreams Soar (www.dreamssoar.org). Waiz started Dreams Soar in 2014 with the announcement of her 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 said.