Already a member? Please login below for an enhanced experience. Not a member? Join today
Menu

Girls across the AtlanticGirls across the Atlantic

Women pilots' transatlantic trek to honor WASP, encourage STEMWomen pilots' transatlantic trek to honor WASP, encourage STEM

As a child, Amanda C. Farnsworth longed to fly. But there was no access to general aviation in her small town, and “little girls weren’t supposed to do that,” she said.

  • Katie Pribyl, left, and Amanda Farnsworth met at AOPA headquarters in Frederick, Maryland, in advance of their departure Sept. 11 on a transatlantic flight to pay tribute to women pilots who have made historically significant contributions to aviation. Photo by Chris Rose.
  • John Fiscus, Dale Klapmeier, Amanda Farnsworth, and Katie Pribyl (left to right) plan their transatlantic flight. Photo by Chris Rose.
  • John Fiscus, Amanda Farnsworth, Dale Klapmeier, and Katie Pribyl (left to right) smile before departing on their transatlantic flight. Photo by Chris Rose.
  • Amanda Farnsworth gives a thumbs-up before departing on the transatlantic flight Sept. 11. Photo by Chris Rose.
  • Amanda Farnsworth and Katie Pribyl departed Sept. 11 on a transatlantic flight in Farnsworth's Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet. Photo by Chris Rose.
  • John Fiscus, Dale Klapmeier, Amanda Farnsworth, and Katie Pribyl prepare to board the two Cirrus SF50 Vision Jets for their transatlantic flight. Photo by Chris Rose.

On Sept. 11, Farnsworth set out in her Cirrus Vision Jet across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe. She and co-pilot Katie Pribyl planned the trip to pay tribute to the women pilots who have made historically significant contributions to aviation. Farnsworth is a member of the AOPA Board of Trustees.

Farnsworth and Pribyl are calling the mission Girls Fly Atlantic, a lighthearted name for a trip with a thoughtful purpose. They want to honor the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) who flew warbirds and other aircraft during World War II.

“They did everything the male pilots did except fly in combat,” Farnsworth said. “They were important to the war effort.”

Another goal is to create science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)-centric high school curriculum content. “We’ll have cameras in the airplanes and we’ll be creating content” on fuel planning, basic engine management, pilot communications, and other aspects of flying, Farnsworth said. Dale Klapmeier, cofounder of Cirrus Aircraft, will be flying a separate SF50 Vision Jet to Europe and will provide additional technical curriculum, she added.

Pribyl is a former airline pilot and senior advisor at AOPA. She spearheaded AOPA’s You Can Fly program, which is designed to get people flying and keep them flying.

“A cornerstone of the You Can Fly program is its High School initiative, which introduces students to careers in aviation and aerospace through a rigorous four-year STEM-based curriculum,” Pribyl said. “There isn’t a better time to pursue a career in aviation and we aim to ensure that high school students, especially girls, are empowered to identify, follow, and unlock their dreams of becoming pilots and pursue STEM careers.”

Farnsworth learned to fly in 2003, and she loved flying from her first introductory flight. She earned a private pilot certificate in a Cessna 172 and has since owned three Cirrus airplanes—two SR22s and an SR22T. She took delivery of her Vision Jet late in 2018.

“I love it,” Farnsworth said of the Vision Jet. “It’s stable, has all the electronics I could hope for, and flies at high altitudes so you are well above the weather.” She said the transition training program is “excellent”—a rigorous two weeks with ground, simulator, and in-flight sessions.

Farnsworth and Pribyl will track their progress using Garmin inReach flight tracking. You can follow their progress here.

Check back to aopa.org/girlsflyatlantic regularly for updates on the trip.

Jill W. Tallman

Jill W. Tallman

AOPA Technical Editor
AOPA Technical Editor Jill W. Tallman is an instrument-rated private pilot who owns a Piper Cherokee 140.
Topics: You Can Fly, Travel, International Travel

Related Articles