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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 September 2018

Afghan refugee becomes the youngest woman to fly solo around the world

 Shaesta Waiz lands in Florida at the end of an epic 25,000 mile flight that included Dubai, with the aim of promoting education

Shaesta Waiz, Afghanistan’s first female certified civilian pilot, arrives in Montreal, Canada, on May 15, on the third leg of her round-the-world solo flight. Catherine Legault / AFP
Shaesta Waiz, Afghanistan’s first female certified civilian pilot, arrives in Montreal, Canada, on May 15, on the third leg of her round-the-world solo flight. Catherine Legault / AFP

An Afghan refugee has become the youngest woman to fly around the world in a single engine aircraft.

Shaesta Waiz, 30, landed her Beechcraft Bonanza A36 aircraft in Florida in last night at the end of a 138 stop trip that included Dubai.

She offered thanks to her aircraft on Twitter after landing in the evening, Florida time.

Born in a refugee camp in Pakistan after her parents fled the war that followed the Soviet occupation, she later became the first Afghan woman to become a certified pilot after her parents emigrated to the US, where she became an American citizen.

Her 25,000-mile journey took in 22 countries, including the UAE, where she landed at Dubai International Airport in early July.

She used the Dubai leg to take a commercial flight to Afghanistan, meeting the president, Ashraf Ghani, and civil society activists.

Read more: Afghan-American pilot on round-the-world solo flight makes detour to Kabul

Her historic flight began at Daytona Beach, Florida in May when Ms Waiz was 29, and included stops in Canada, Spain, Egypt, Bahrain, India and Australia.

The longest leg was a 14 hour flight across the Pacific Ocean from Hawaii to California.

The flight was “not to set a world record” she said after travelling from Dubai to Afghanistan, but to inspire women and young people everywhere to embrace aviation careers and science and technology education through her Dreams Soar project.

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