For many teens in the U.S., the months leading up to their 16th birthdays are spent working to save up for a car, and on the big day, sweating over written and driving tests at the DMV.
But an Australian teen from Canberra took a different route, spending the years leading up to her 16th birthday selling cupcakes for $3.50 each to pay for flying lessons.
On June 17, Jade Esler got to hold a dual celebration: turning 16, and becoming the country’s youngest pilot.
Her passion for flying began at a young age; her dad had obtained a pilot’s license when she was still a baby, and they soared through the skies with him in the cockpit and her strapped in her car seat at the back of the plane. She even took her first steps in an airport hangar.
Jade also loved to cook and bake, so she decided to use the proceeds for one passion to pay for another.
At just 13 years old, she started her own company, The Sugar Bite, and sold roughly 20,000 cupcakes over the course of three years to pay for flying lessons.
Jade’s recreational pilot’s license comes with limitations – she’s only allowed to fly solo within a 25 mile radius of the airport, and she’s required to take off and land from the same spot. But this ambitious young lady already has her sights set on obtaining her private pilot’s license by her next birthday, and a commercial license by age 18. Eventually, she hopes to become a commercial airline pilot.
“I just completely believe in, if you have a dream and you have something to achieve, you have to go out and do it,” she said. “It’s not just going to come to you. You need to go and get it. And there’s always a way to do it, you’ve just gotta find it.”
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