Tradition of Excellence

I'm NOT the author of the articles. I'm chronicling the stories you may have missed.

Kimberly Anyadike, 15, becomes youngest African American female to pilot plane across country

leave a comment »

by Tracy Miller, NY Daily News

kimberlyanyadikeShe departed with a dream and returned home a record-breaker.

Inspired by the Tuskeegee Airmen, 15-year-old Kimberly Anyadike flew a single-engine Cessna cross-country from her hometown of Compton, Calif., to Newport News, Va.

Anyadike is thought to be the youngest African American female pilot to complete the journey, which took 13 days. She arrived home in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 11.

Anyadike learned to fly at age 12 through the Compton-based Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum, which offers aviation lessons in an after-school program for disadvantaged youths, the Los Angeles Times reported. It was their plane that she flew on her cross-country trip.

The brave teenager came up with the idea for the trip on her own, the museum’s founder, Robert Petgrave, told the Times.

“I told her it was going to be a daunting task, but she just said, ‘Put it on. I got big shoulders,’” Petgrave said.

Along for the historic ride were an adult safety pilot and 87-year-old Levi Thornhill, one of the Tuskeegee Airmen during World War II.

“They left such a great legacy,” Anyadike said of the U.S. Army Air Corps’ all-black combat unit. “I had big shoes to fill. … All they wanted to do was to be patriots for this country. They were told no, that they were stupid, that they didn’t have cognitive development to fly planes. They didn’t listen. They just did what they wanted to do.”

About 50 Tuskeegee Airmen autographed the young pilot’s plane during her journey, the Times reported.

“I wanted to inspire other kids to really believe in themselves,” Anyadike said.

About these ads

Written by Symphony

July 24, 2009 at 7:32 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 44 other followers

%d bloggers like this: