By Jennifer Cairns 01 Mar 2023 5 min read

Life as a disabled female Pilot

Meet Amarie, disabled Private Pilot who is working to raise awareness of disablility within the aviation industry. 


Where did the dream start for you?

I started to take an interest in aviation when I took my first discovery flight on my 16th birthday. However, even before that moment, my parents were both in the Air Force, exposing me to aviation at a very young age.

Growing up and experiencing aviation through my parents has steered me to feel fascinated by aircraft and dream of soaring through the sky.

My first discovery flight helped solidify that dream when I fully experienced the feeling of flight firsthand.

As a physically disabled individual, I never knew flying was something I would be capable of doing. Even personally, I have never met a disabled pilot, nonetheless believed I could become a pilot myself.

However, I have treasured this feeling and have decided that flying is what I am meant to do.


How did you begin your journey to becoming a pilot?

I started my pilot journey in my junior year of high school and applied for many scholarships. With hard work, I was able to achieve a scholarship that financially helped pay for the flights.

Juggling between school, flying, and work was the most challenging part of the beginning of my training. At one point, I had to pause my PPL training to focus on high school. In my senior year, I took advantage of the pandemic with online school and continued my flight training.

It was nonetheless more challenging than before; however, I had more time to fly. I was determined from start to finish to overcome my obstacles.

Despite all odds against me, I obtained my private pilot license in November of 2021. 


What would you say has been your biggest challenge? 

My biggest obstacle during my flight journey is my physical disability. Not because of the physical limitations, but the setback it brings when I succeed forward.

Throughout my PPL training, I had difficulty finishing my license because I doubted myself, and felt I was not good enough. I was the only young women pilot pursuing flight training in my flight school, and at times I felt insecure.

Fortunately, I surpassed these insecurities and obstacles by believing in myself, my talent, and my goal of becoming a pilot and hopefully being a mentor for others when I didn't have one.

When I have doubts about my capabilities, I remind myself of the accomplishments I have achieved so far. I have become a pilot with this mindset, and I will go forward to accomplish more.


What would you like people to take from your story?

My personal goal is to become a pilot that leads representation for women and minorities in the aviation field. There isn't much representation of individuals of color; nevertheless, any pilots who have physical disabilities like myself. I want to show and inspire other women to break barriers. 

At this stage in my life, I am a young college student and only have achieved my PPL. However, with what I have personally experienced, the advice I can give to aspiring aviation individuals is to surround themselves with people that will uplift you and support you through the aviation journey.

This career is expensive and exhausting but it can be the most exhilarating thing in your life if you are surrounded by the right people to keep pushing you to achieve greater. And one piece of advice that I wish I knew before is to get involved in the aviation community. The more you get involved the more opportunities open up and the more amazing people you meet.

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