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.
The two-day-event hosted in Italy in lively ambience, is the result of Donatella’s intent to create a space which allows international networking among past, present and future ladies in aviation. The location is a fully accessible airstrip nearby one the fifty-three enchanting Unesco World Heritage sites in Italy.
By profession Donatella is helicopter division Program Manager at Agusta Westland, a leisure pilot as of 2015 she is the new World Altitude Record holder on gyroplane with 27.556 ft/8.399 m, previously established in 2004 by American Andrew Keech. Donatella has turned herself into a daring test pilot of her standard Magni M16 machine designed and manufactured in Italy in order to accomplish her record. Her book “Record Flight On Gyroplane” published in 2017 is emblazoned with Samantha Cristoforetti’s preface, a must-read for anyone with passion for flying, it offers unsung motivational insights. As speaker and flight trainer of ultralight airplanes, Donatella conveys the beauty of flying 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, Esa Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti. With her breathtaking photography, vivid memories of her 200 days in space living and working aboard the International Space Station, Cristoforetti makes everyone relive her extraordinary life and professional experiences, shares the importance of cultivating universal values.
Italian Armed Forces ladies pilot officers, parachuters and two generations of international ladies pilot and flight trainers, have come from all over Europe to celebrate her life-long achievements.
Video design ellarte – footage and images credit Donatella Ricci
Special Guests: WeFly! Team
Among the remarkable partecipating gues is WeFly! Team, the only aerobatic flying team in the world composed by three pilots of Italian nationality, two of which with physical disabilites: aerospace engineer Alessandro Paleri, who customizes the planes they fly in order to pilot only by use of hands, and Marco Cherubini. Erich Kustatscher WeFly! Team’s trainer, Flight Club’s President, prestigous life-long carrier in aviation, very skilled ultralight planes and helicopters trainer.
The choreography the team designs in the sky conveys a sense of passion, freedom, a display of incredible abilities. The initiative ‘Dare To Fly’ in collaboration with WeFly! Team, astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, Italian Space Agency (ASI), Italian Air Force, European Space Agency (ESA) Read along
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 partecipated in this edition. Among the many remarkable guests, Fiorenza De Bernardi, who in 1967 became one the first airline female pilots 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.