Federal Aviation Administration

Girls Take Flight: Local High School Teens Earn Their FAA Remote Pilot Certificate

"Girls Take Flight" is a 32-week course where San Diego-area high school students earn their Federal Aviation Administration Remote Pilot Certification

Some of them aren't even allowed to drive a car yet, but that's not stopping a group of San Diego-area high school students from working hard to become commercial drone pilots.

It's part of an internship program to help careers take flight for girls pursuing careers in science, math, technology, and engineering (STEM).

"These young ladies have been amazing. They work very hard. This is not something easy to go through," said Desi Ekstein, a drone instructor for Elementary Institute of Science.

The "Girls Take Flight" program is a 32-week course where local high school students earn their Federal Aviation Administration Remote Pilot Certification.

"They're very dedicated, and they've passed their test and worked really hard to be where they are," said Ekstein.

The girls started training in April, and seven of them are already licensed, like Araceli Muñoz, a student at Morse High School.

The girls are beating the odds as only six percent of pilots are women, according to Women in Aviation International.

"It definitely was a bit challenging because it's a lot of studying and a lot of rules you need to learn," said Muñoz .

The executive director of the program said the course finishes next month. By then, each pilot will have put in 150 hours of training, and a few more students will have earned their license.

"We got to go on a lot of projects and met a lot of inspirational females in the STEM industry. I love hearing their stories and how they got to where they are," Muñoz explained.

The girls will also receive about $1,500 to purchase their own drone.

"I was thinking maybe even starting my own business in videography using drones and getting other females in that, " said Muñoz.

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