16-Year-Old Cleveland Girl Skips Over The Whole Driver's License Thing, Receives Her Pilot's Certificate Instead
"I don't even have my driver's license."
November 11, 2019 at 8:59 pm
Sydney-Marie Flowers is flying planes by herself at just 16 years old.
Flowers, a Cleveland native, will receive her private pilot’s license at the end of this school year, after receiving her student certificate this past summer, reports WKYC.
“I don’t even have my driver’s license,” she said.
When she began her first training, it was at a local aviation camp. Instructors noticed her aptitude and named her a top-performing student. She was then selected to attend a national aviation camp that is sponsored by the U.S. Air Force, where she took her first solo flight on the same field where Tuskegee airmen trained in World War II. The flight marked the first time pilots have been trained on the field since that era.
“They only pick 20 students out of the whole entire country,” she said. “I just felt that it was a real accomplishment for me, and also a privilege to step on the same field the Tuskegee airman stepped on.”
The high school student said the training was hard and admitted there were challenges on her last landing.
Despite the demands of the program, Flowers’ mom, Marie-Lynn Ogletree, said her daughter is very accomplished.
“I am extremely proud of my daughter. She made goals and she’s pretty much aced every goal,“ Ogletree said.
Flowers will join the small group of Black women pilots. According to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, only 4.4% of airline transport pilots are women and only 2.7% are Black.
In May of last year, Alaska Airlines made news after the first time two Black women piloted a flight for the company. In February, the airline also pledged to increase the number of Black women pilots within their airline and Horizon Air, with hopes to quadruple the number they have now. Currently, there are only four. Alaska Airlines has also partnered with nonprofit organization, Sisters of the Skies.