Young African-American pilot, Kimberly Anyadike was born in 1994. She is an from Compton, California and known for being the youngest African-American woman to complete a transcontinental flight across the United States, flying a single-engine Cessna 172 from coast to coast at the age of 15.
Kimberly whose parents are originally from Nigeria has two siblings grew up in Compton, California. She has two siblings. Her older sister Kelly, also took aviation lessons at Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum and became the youngest African-American woman to pilot four different fixed-wing aircraft in a single day at the age of 16.
At a young age, she showed a strong interest in medical science and anatomy; her mother taught her to identify and name all 206 bones in the body. She also took dance lessons at the Lula Washington Dance Academy, served as a junior lifeguard at Venice Beach for five years, and volunteered as a youth leader at her local church.
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At the age of 12, she took her first flying lessons attending an after-school aviation program offered by Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum for disadvantaged youths. She was then inspired to take lessons after reading about Jonathan Strickland, an earlier participant of the program who became the youngest person to fly a fixed-wing aircraft and a helicopter solo in a single day. As part of the program’s requirements, she maintained a strong academic record throughout the period
Kimberly enrolled at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), majoring in physiological science with minors in African-American studies and Spanish. During her senior year, she was also working as a registered emergency medical technician, and was volunteering for her local chapter of the Flying Samaritans to bring medical care to Tijuana, Mexico.
As she gradually built up 100 hours of flight time, she conceived the idea of flying across the country. She wanted to inspire other youth, while also honouring the Tuskegee Airmen, an African-American air combat unit that served during World War II.
Although the record had never been officially tracked before her journey, Kimberly Anyadike is considered to be the youngest African-American woman and possibly the youngest person of any race or gender to have successfully piloted a plane coast-to-coast across the United States.
Kimberly received an award from the County of Los Angeles upon her arrival home on July 11, 2009 and was personally invited by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to visit the California State Capitol.
In May 2015, she received the Tuskegee Airmen’s inaugural Young Aviator’s Award in Tuskegee, Alabama, in recognition of her achievements as a pilot.
In 2017, Kimberly was interviewed about her transcontinental flight for a special Disney Channel segment for Black History Month entitled ‘True Heroes Are Timeless’
She graduated with her undergraduate degree from UCLA in June 2016 and has plans of being a cardiovascular surgeon.