July 12, 2009 in Nation/World

Girl, 15, makes historic cross-country flight

My-Thuan Tran Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES – A 15-year-old Los Angeles girl – who navigated a single-engine Cessna through thunderstorms in Texas and took in breathtaking aerial views of Arizona’s sunsets – landed her plane to cheering crowds at Compton Woodley Airport on Saturday and is believed to be the youngest black female pilot to fly solo across country.

Kimberly Anyadike took off from the Compton airport south of downtown Los Angeles 13 days ago with an adult safety pilot and Levi Thornhill, an 87-year-old who served with the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II. They flew to Newport News, Va., making about a dozen stops along the way.

Anyadike learned to fly a plane and helicopter when she was 12 with an after-school program for at-risk youth and economically disadvantaged students.

She loved the feeling of streaking across the sky. She told her mom that it was like a wild ride at a theme park.

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