Last night we attended the celebration for the recently completed solo flight around the world by Shaesta Waiz – a 30 year old Afghan refugee who heads up Dreams Soar http://dreamssoar.org/ . With the support of the “Dream Team” – mostly Embry Riddle students and some well respected business aviation sponsors, she was able to get outside her comfort zone and do it!
Several people like Lyndse Costabile and Jill Meyers were amazing in their support and resourcefulness to focus team resources on problem solving and then present amazing coverage of the whole trip along the way through social media and crowd sourcing. Several very generous sponsors were recognized for both their financial and more importantly, their logistical support.
Some great stories about way more than getting outside comfort zone. Loss of the HF radio a few hours over the Atlantic necessitated a return to North America – first to St. Pierre (which is French) and had no adequate repair facilities, and then to St. John where the problem resolution could be expedited so she could start the Atlantic crossing again!
Weather was an issue several times throughout the journey. The weather service sponsor had all 6 of their female meteorologists on the project. They used WhatsApp to communicate in real time, making it possible for Shaesta to navigate through several weather conditions that would have otherwise caused significant delays.
The final big challenge of the trip was the 14 hour 2,000 mile flight from Hawaii to Hayward in the San Francisco Bay and “home”. And throughout the journey, Shaesta visited 22 countries and reached out to more than 3000 kids everywhere along the route to promote STEM and provide a role model for girls to do anything.