TAMPA, Fla. - Look out world. She's only 13 years old but she knows what she wants to do with her life.
“Girls make better pilots than boys because we're smarter. No offense,” laughed Afton Kinkaid, appearing in the documentary “Fly Like a Girl” which highlights the struggles and triumphs of women in aviation.
From the aerospace program at Stewart Middle Magnet in Tampa, Afton told us what it is about flying that captured her heart and mind.
“What got me interested, well, I think I was about three years old and I would look up into the sky and see these airplanes flying through the sky. And my mother would tell me, ‘You know, these people are pilots. You can fly these things,’” Afton recalled.
But she may never have guessed she would have a documentary crew following her journey behind the simulator as she prepares to become a world-class pilot.
“At first I thought, ‘What is this? This is kind of bizarre.’ But then I realized I'm glad to inspire and help other people be informed about the aviation world and why a lot of women don't feel they have the chance to be in this aviation world,” Afton said.
The statistics are stacked against her but it’s unlikely she’ll let them stand in her way. Women make up 8% of the pilots in the United States.
So why does she think more girls should be interested in flying?
“I think girls -- I mean, like I said -- they make better pilots because they're smarter. But I really think because there's a lot of stereotypes put into women being that stay-at-home moms or, ‘I can't do that, that's a boy thing,’ but you can do that no matter what and girls should be as equal as anyone else,” Afton said. “If that's what they want, they can do it.”
The film offers many inspiring stories of females in flight, including Clearwater native and NASA Astronaut Nicole Stott.
My inspirations, actually, I inspire from Patty Wagstaff, a three-time aerobatic champion, which is basically doing stunts in the air, it’s really crazy, but I think that’s one of my paths that I want to do,” Afton said.
She also dreams of one day flying for NOAA, researching animal migrations through tracking, and possibly flying a Hurricane Hunters mission.
The documentary “Fly Like a Girl” is currently available on most streaming platforms, including iTunes, Prime Video, Vudu, and Google Play. For more information, visit https://www.flylikeagirl.film/.