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19-Year-Old Ariel Messam Becomes Youngest Black Female Certified Private Pilot in New York

Ariel Messam, a 19-year-old African American woman from Jamaica, New York, is the state’s youngest woman of color to be a Certified Private Pilot.

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From 2018 to 2022, Ariel attended and graduated from Aviation Career & Technical Education High School in Queens, New York. While playing varsity basketball, she got both her high school diploma and her certification as an Aircraft Powerplant Technician.


In 2022, she started working as a Flight Simulation Instructor for Level Up and Take Off, a 501(c)3 nonprofit founded by her father, Anthony Messam, that promotes diversity, inclusiveness, and equity in aviation, real estate, and financial management. This program gives inner-city students the opportunity to receive hands-on experience in each field.


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


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

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