Sydney-Marie Flowers, a STEM student from Cleveland, is only 16 but already will be fully set to become a licensed private pilot this year even though she doesn’t even have her driver’s license yet.
Flowers was recognized as a top student at a local aviation camp and was chosen by a national camp sponsored by the U.S. Air Force in Tuskegee, Alabama, to be one of the attendees. What’s even more impressive about this achievement is that they only pick 20 students out of the whole country.
As Flowers said in an interview with WKYC, “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.”
Flowers had the incredible opportunity to perform her first solo flight in Tuskegee’s historic field. Although training for that was quite rigorous and she experienced challenges, her last landing was still a success.
Flower’s mother, Marie-Lynn Ogletree, who reportedly shed tears while watching her daughter shine, agrees.
“I am extremely proud of my daughter. She made goals and she’s pretty much aced every goal,” she said.
Flowers will be a part of a small group of black female pilots. Overall, female pilots only make up 4.4% of airline transport pilots and of course those numbers are smaller for black women—only 2.7% of airline transport pilots are black women, according to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.
Flowers and her mother give substantial credit to both Davis Aerospace and Maritime High School and PHASTAR, a nonprofit that helped launch the high school. PHASTAR puts together a community of boaters and aviators to inspire as well as expose students to all things of the maritime and aviation worlds.