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Tampa teen pilot lands spot in national ad campaign

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Posted at 8:01 AM, Jun 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-13 05:33:35-04

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Every time 15-year-old Afton Kinkade climbs into the cockpit she’s just not just flying for herself but for everyone out there with dreams of being a pilot.

Kinkade often channels her inner Top Gun whenever she’s near an aircraft.

“I never get nervous when I’m up there, it’s honestly a calming state, so if I’m nervous on the ground when I’m up there it's complete zen,” said Kinkade.

Kinkade’s admiration for aviation goes back to when she was three years old. She had her first opportunity to fly a plane at age eight, with supervision of course.

“When I knew I wanted to be a pilot is definitely that first time, I was really able to be in control of the airplane, I was like, ‘you know this is what I really want to do, this is the aircraft I want to be flying, and what I want my future to be,” said Kinkade.

However, she had to fight for every lesson she received, being a young girl in a male-dominated field wasn’t easy.

“It’s definitely challenging going through this profession at a young age because other people are like, ‘you are too small we can’t train you until you are 16,’” said Kinkade.

However, her perseverance didn’t go unnoticed, this year Kinkade is being recognized nationally in a Microsoft ad campaign.

She's one of the faces of their new Flight Simulator as she continues to prove that the sky is the limit.

“I don’t do it just for myself, but I do it for the others who actually don’t think about aviation as their career, they’re like, ‘oh I can’t do that I’m just a girl,’ or ‘I’m too young,’ well I feel like they should do anything that they want to do and if that’s really something that they want to do they should totally go for it,” said Kinkade.

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