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Meet The 16-Year-Old Pilot Who Doesn’t Even Have Her Driver’s License Yet

By Parker Diakite

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At 16-years-old, Sydney-Marie Flowers is on track to become a licensed private pilot. The Cleveland native already has a student pilot certificate and she doesn’t even have a driver’s license yet.

Sydney-Marie recently took her first solo flight in Tuskegee, Alabama, on the same field where the Tuskegee Airman trained in World War II. 

She got there after attending a local aviation camp where she was named a top student and then later picked to attend a national camp in Tuskegee, sponsored the U.S. Air Force, as reported in WKYC.

“They only pick 20 students out of the whole entire country,” said Sydney-Marie, adding, “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.”

RELATED: Meet The Black Pilots Who Want To Diversify The Aviation Industry

She admitted that the training was hard and she encountered challenges on her last landing, but she still nailed it.

“I am extremely proud of my daughter. She made goals and she’s pretty much aced every goal,” her mother, Marie-Lynn Ogletree, told WYKC.

Flowers will join a small group of Black women pilots, wherein only 4.4% of airline transport pilots are women and only 2.7% are Black, according to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.

Both women credit Davis A and M High School and PHASTAR, a non-profit that helps to inspire and expose students to careers in aviation and boating.

Becoming A Student Pilot

According to the FAA, students who wish to obtain a student pilot certificate must complete an application and then submit it to a Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), an FAA-designated pilot examiner, an airman certification representative associated with a part 141 flight school, or a certificated flight instructor.

The authorized individual will process their application and submit the required documents to the Airmen Certification Branch.

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