Teen Pilot Gears Up for Return Flight

A 15-year-old pilot is flying back home to California after her historic cross-country journey.

Kimberly Anyadike became the youngest black female to pilot an airplane transcontinentally. She took off from Compton Airport for Newport News, Va. June 29.

Kimberly was accompanied in the single-engine craft by Tuskegee Airman Levi Thornhill and safety pilot Ronell Norman. Thornhill was a crew chief during World War II.

It wasn't just her smooth landing that earned praise from Thornhill.

"She is amazing," Thornhill said after Anyadike landed this week in Virginia. "You won't find a more motivated young lady. "

They met other Tuskegee Airmen at stops along the flight path.

"They did such a good thing," Kimberly said of the Tuskegee Airmen. "Everything that they did was so amazing. When someone's constantly telling you no, when someone's constantly telling you that you're stupid, that you don't have the cognitive development, and that you can't do something so good, and you go out and prove them wrong -- it's just like, wow."

Kimberly's flight is part of an after-school program sponsored by Tomorrow's Aeronautical Museum (TAM). Kimberly has been part of the program for aspiring pilots since she was 12.

"Aviation teaches you why," said Norman. "For example, how many times have you heard a kid say, 'Why do I need to learn how to read? Why do I need to learn all this math? When am I ever doing to use science?' When you start flying, it makes sense."

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