Inspired by the Tuskeegee Airmen, at the age of 15 Kimberly Anyadike flew a single-engine Cessna cross-country from her hometown of Compton, Calif., to Newport News, Va. Anyadike is thought to be the youngest African American female pilot to complete the journey, which took 13 days. She learned to fly at age 12 through the Compton-based Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum, which offers aviation lessons in an after-school program for disadvantaged youths. It was their plane that she flew on her cross-country trip. She was accompanied by safety pilot Ronnell Norman, a certified commercial pilot and Major Levi H. Thornhill, a retired U.S. Air Force pilot who at age 87, is a member of the elite Tuskegee Airmen who served during World War II.
Anyadike is from Compton, California. She paid for her flight lesson by working many regular jobs and odd jobs.