12-Year-Old Pursues Dream Of Becoming Youngest Female Pilot In Utah
PROVO, Utah — A 12-year-old Utah girl knows what it’s like to have a big dream and she’s doing everything she can to make it a reality — taking aim at a profession still dominated by men.
“We get a lot of the TikTok and the YouTube, but we start talking about weight and balance and CGs and flight envelopes,” said Kent Miner, who is the father of Sparkle Miner.
Sparkle Miner comes from a family of pilots — all of them men.
She just finished ground school and is learning to fly.
“The problem she has right now is she can’t reach the rudder pedals very well, but other than that, she does great,” said Kent.
Sparkle said she hopes to get her pilot’s license to become the youngest female pilot in Utah.
“The youngest I can, which is 17,” said Sparkle.
She also has dreams of having her own plane.
“The tail number would be ‘Sparkle’ in cursive,” she said.
At the Provo Airport, Sparkle prepared for her flying lessons.
“I did not like math at all, but now that I’m flying, I love math,” she said, calculating the amount of fuel they’d need for a one-hour flight.
Despite her enthusiasm to reach her goals, there are crosswinds.
“I hear people at school, ‘Girls can’t be pilots, it’s only a boy profession. It makes me feel angry,” she said.
But Sparkle has a role model: Chief Pilot, Kendra Hart.
“I think that women, just like men, are great at staying calm under pressure,” said Chief Pilot Kendra Hart with Pilot Makers Advanced Flight Academy in Provo. “I think they feel a little bit more of an expectation to achieve because I think the expectation can be lower, and I think sometimes women feel that, but I think they’re absolutely just as capable.”
Only 6.8 percent of pilots in the U.S. are women, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. But the skies are clearing for women in aviation, with United Airlines setting a goal that half its student pilots will be women and minorities.
“I just feel like I’m in my element,” said Sparkle Miner.
Her parents feel confident that with proper training, their daughter will be safe.
“There are no lanes in the sky. You can go where you want,” said Stephanie Miner, Sparkle’s mother.
With enough tail winds on her rudder, Sparkle’s dreams are indeed gaining altitude.
“The wings that I’m trying to give her are the freedom to have the sky is the limit of all of her hopes and dreams,” said Stephanie.
“I was born to fly,” Sparkle Miner said.
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