18-Year-Old Becomes Youngest Black Female Certified Private Pilot in New York

Nationwide — Meet Ariel Messam, an 18-year-old African American woman from Jamaica, New York, who has recently become the youngest woman of color to be a Certified Private Pilot in her state.Ariel attended and graduated from Aviation Career & Technical Education High School in Queens, New York from 2018-2022. She earned both her high school diploma and also her certification as an Aircraft Powerplant Technician, all while playing varsity basketball.

In 2022, she began working as a Flight Simulation Instructor at Level Up and Take Off, a New York City-based 501(c)3 organization created by her brother, Anthony Messam, that promotes diversity, inclusion, and equitability in aviation, real estate, and financial management. This program provides inner-city youth with opportunities to gain practical hands-on experience within each industry.

She primarily flies out of Republic Airport in Farmingdale, New York, and recently announced on a Facebook post that she had finally achieved her goal of becoming the youngest Black woman to be a Certified Private Pilot in the state of New York.

Her hobbies include basketball, badminton, writing, and photography. Follow her on Instagram at @FlyingWithAriel



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