Woman Attempting to be Youngest to Fly Solo Around World to Stop in Grand Rapids
Shaesta Waiz is attempting to become the youngest woman to fly solo around the world. She began her journey in May and is scheduled to complete the trip on Sept. 28. She will make a stop and appearance in Grand Rapids on Saturday, Sept. 16.
Waiz is 29 years old. She was born in a refugee camp in Afghanistan in 1987 before she and her family fled to America to escape the Soviet-Afghan war. She was raised in Richmond, Calif. and has become the first certified civilian female Afghan pilot.
Waiz is flying to promote Dreams Soar, an organization she formed in 2014 to encourage more women to pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and aviation-related degrees.
The solo flight began and ends at Daytona Beach International Airport, and also includes stops in Canada, Europe, India, Egypt, Thailand, Middle East, Singapore, and Australia. U.S. stops include Columbus, Ohio, Grand Rapids, Mich., Hilo, Hawaii, El Cajon, Calif., Phoenix, Ariz., Wichita, Kan., Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Ga., and Mobile, Ala.
Hurricane Irma forced a change of plans, but Waiz and her on-the-ground team stayed safe.
Waiz's stop in Grand Rapids will be at the Grand Rapids Public Museum on Saturday, Sept. 16, at 9am to help kick off BrainSTEM, an all-ages STEM expo being hosted by Grand Valley State University.