7th International Meeting
FlyDonna is an international outreach event which has been running since its founding year, 2008, by the driving force of Donatella Ricci. ‘Flydonna’ is designed to raise awareness of aviation opportunities available to girls/ladies of all ages, to promote women as an important asset and economic force beneficial for air and space industry, to foster gender equality and inclusion in communities and working environments.
World record holders, pioneers in their specialties, attending this edition: pilot instructor Donatella Ricci, Asi/Esa astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, WeFly! Team aerobatic pilots.
On 4-5 June 2016 the two-day-event hosted in Italy, displaying its most exquisite attire, is dedicated to past, present and future ladies in aviation. The location is a fully accessible airstrip nearby the enchanting Unesco World Heritage site.
Follow Your Dreams Dare To Fly
As of 2015 Donatella is the new World Altitude Record holder on autogyro with 27.556 ft/8.399 m, previously established in 2004 by American Andrew Keech. Donatella has turned herself into a test pilot of her standard Magni M16 machine designed and manufactured in Italy, in order to accomplish her record.
Roman by birth Venetian by adoption, Donatella Ricci is an astrophysicist whose passion for cosmos and flight made her choose aviation industry to pursue her dream to fly to space. She was among the 5 women and 10 men candidates in 2001 for the European Space Agency (Esa) astronaut corps selection. The same year, 2001 a French became the first Esa female astronaut to visit for a 16-day-mission the International Space Station, after having been a back-up crew member for a 1993 mission.
Donatella has since been involved in the aviation industry reaching high profile positions. Currently she holds the position as Product Manager at a prestigious helicopter design and manufacturing company near Venice, Italy. She is also the author of her book due for release in 2017. As keynote speaker Donatella reaches out to women and encourages them to pursue their dream of flying. As a flight instructor of ultralight airplanes, Donatella shows the beauty of flight and the sense of belonging to a world where there could be no boundaries.
Guest Of Honor: Samantha Cristoforetti
For Flydonna special edition guest of honor is Italian Air Force Captain, Asi/Esa Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti. With her breathtaking photography, vivid memories of her time spent in space onboard the International Space Station, the work accomplished, the out of this world daily life, the thrill of the journeys to space and reentry, Cristoforetti makes everyone relive all the things she shares of extraordinary life experiences. Italian Armed Forces ladies pilots officers, parachuters, and two generations of international ladies pilot and flight instructors, have come from all over Europe to celebrate the accomplishments of an inspiring woman. Cristoforetti is, herself, a Flydonna’s example of dedication to one’s passion, having attended one of the first editions of the event. They also have come to meet friends, encourage the passion for flight, and increase the trend of inclusion in working and social environments.
Special Guests: WeFly! Team
Among the remarkable partecipating guests: WeFly! Team is the only aerobatic flying team in the world composed by three pilots of Italian nationality, two of which have physical disabilites: Alessandro Paleri, team leader, Marco Cherubini, left wingman, Erich Kustatscher, right wingman. Erich Kustatscher is WeFly! Team’s instructor, Flight Club’s President, also very skilled planes and helicopters instructor, who holds a prestigous life-long carrier in aviation.
WeFly! Team Alessandro Paleri is the aerospace engineer who customized the planes they fly, in order to pilot only by use of hands. Journalist and pilot Pino di Feo, is WeFly! Team’s speaker and public relation officer; Marco Tricarico, pilot and WeFly! Team’s photographer. The choreography they design in the sky conveys a sense of passion, freedom, and of incredible skills and abilities.
“Dare To Fly”
‘DareToFly’ is an initiative in collaboration with WeFly! Team, astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, Italian Space Agency (ASI), European Space Agency (ESA). Cristoforetti presented the initiative while on board the ISS to internationally promote the values of inclusion in our societies, and of incouragement for everyone to pursue one’s own goals and dreams. At ‘Flydonna’ she returns WeFly! Team the flag she flew to space. Their message went to space, lived on board the ISS and came back to inspire more people to DareToFly. WeFly! Team has donated to the Museum of Science & Ntural History of Trento the symbolic flag with the hope it will continue to inspire more people to DareToFly.
Flydonna is an initiative which adheres to the spirit of FEWP (European Federation of Women Pilots and ADA (Italian Organization Ladies Pilot). Their representative members partecipate with their personal and professional accomplishments, their enthusiasm and support.
More than 400 ladies pilots with fascinating backgrounds and stories attended the friendly and stimulating atmosphere of Flydonna. Among the many remarkable guests, Fiorenza De Bernardi, who in 1967 became one the first airline female pilot in Italy, and throughout her life did so much to promote women’s equality and inclusion in working environments. Her legacy still lives on to these days.
Post header: Amelia Earhart, ink drawing credit ellarte. Image credit Donatella Ricci