Photo: Jill Greenberg
Three years later, in 2009, Anyadike became the youngest African-American female in history to pilot a round-trip, coast-to-coast flight. (Her chaperone for all 7,000 miles was Major Levi Thornhill, one of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen, the African-American pilots whose heroism in World War II inspired Anyadike's record-setting journey.) "Flying over Texas was the most fun because there were a lot of summer rainstorms," Anyadike says. "I wasn't scared—I'm never scared. I just focus. And before every flight, I pray."
Anyadike plans to become a cardiovascular surgeon after college, but for now the big goal is earning a couple of licenses this summer—pilot's and driver's. "When I'm flying, I'm in control. I trust myself," she says. "The sound of the engine, the movement of the propeller—it's like gravity gets suspended. It's as if you're closer to heaven." Or to being a superhero. —Marcia Desanctis