ATLANTA — Gatlyn Ligon was just a teenager when she took a special charter flight that was flown by an all-female Delta Air Lines crew who aimed to inspire girls to consider a career in aviation.
Now, just eight years later at the age of 25, Ligon is a Delta pilot flying the Airbus A320.
“I love flying,” Ligon said. She started taking flying lessons at the age of 17 when she was in high school and got her private pilot’s license soon thereafter. “As soon as I flew, I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything other than flying,” she said.
Ligon is one of the Delta crewmembers who helped lead a new group of students aged 11-18 from around metro Atlanta on the airline’s annual all-female Women Inspiring our Next Generation (WING) charter flight on Friday.
The group of more than 130 girls from schools and programs around the Atlanta area took off early Friday morning for a trip to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
For some of the students, it’s their first time in an airport and boarding an airplane. In the gate area, the young passengers were buzzing with anticipation, cheering as each boarding group of students was called.
“I’ve never flown before, so this is really exciting,” said 15-year-old Leslie Santos Vega.
The airport “is really modern, it’s really clean,” Santos Vega said. “I like it.” The idea of flying in a plane made her “a little nervous,” she acknowledged. “I guess it’ll be fun.”
For Santos Vega, who is in the Air Force Junior ROTC program at Morrow High School, getting comfortable with being in the air is important because she wants to be a pilot when she grows up.
She plans to start learning to fly in the school’s flight simulators next year, “and then by the time I’m 17, I’m gonna be getting my private pilot license.”
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