Kimberly Anyadike made history in 2009 after she completed a cross-country flight from Compton, Calif. to Newport News, Va. when she was just 15 years of age. The feat made Anyadike, who is of Nigerian heritage, the youngest known Black pilot to ever complete such a journey.
Anyadike began her training as a pilot when she was 12-years-old and a member of the Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum after-school program for troubled youth. Despite the tough Compton environment she was raised in, Anyadike managed to find inspiration from Black pilots who achieved aviation exploits well before her time.
She was especially inspired by theTuskegee Airmen, the Black pilots of World War II lore that faced segregation and racism yet flew their planes in service of a country that barely valued them. Anyadike was inspired by the Airmen’s tenacity to continue their missions despite the obstacles they faced.
Anyadike took to the skies on June 30 from the Compton/Woodley Airport and completed the criss-cross journey in 13 days. Along the way, Anyadike was greeted by several supporters and she was accompanied by retired Tuskegee Airman, Maj. Levi H. Thornhill, who flew in the second World War. Safety pilot Ronnell Morgan also went along for the epic nationwide ride.
Today, Anyadike has completed her undergraduate studies and is studying for her MCAT’s according to a recent EPSN article. Her sister, Kelly, made the Guinness Book of World Records after she piloted four fixed-wing airplanes in the California skies in one day in 2008 when she was just 16.
Despite their achievements, it doesn’t appear that either of the Anyadike sisters are professional pilots today.
(Photo: YouTube Screenshot)