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.
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.
“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.