UNDETERRED, Aytona recently earned her flight instructor’s certificate, dis-playing
the flexibility and resilience necessary to become a competent pilot.
She now passes on her knowledge and love of flying to eager students,
many of them women.
She admits that flying seemed unnatural at first. Stalls scared her until “my patient
instructor took the time to break each task down to its components.” A good instruc-tor-
student rapport is essential in training.
“I’ve learned that students have different learning styles and preferences,” Aytona says.
“Instructors must adapt their teaching methods to match students’ individual needs.
Articulating and simplifying tasks for someone who has never flown takes practice.”
Her students include Tiara Hendricks, a flight student who was inspired while in
“I joined the Civil Air Patrol and learned to fly through their cadet program,” she says.
With the help of a flight school scholarship, Hendricks is closing in on her pri-vate
Danielle Donovan has her private pilot, instrument and commercial ratings, and
is taking flight instructor training at All-American.
“My mother is a flight attendant,” she says. “I’ve always loved aviation. Realizing I no
longer wanted to study chemistry, I started flight training as a college sophomore in
January 2019, and I went through it fast, passing my private pilot check ride that April.”
Donovan’s good friend, Mary Kuehn, worked as a flight attendant. On her
first trip, the flight crew summoned her to the flight deck where she witnessed
Greenland from 37,000 feet.
“With a view like that, how could you not want to become a pilot?” she says.
Above: Tiara Hendricks completes three solo
takeoffs and landings for the first time in a
Cessna 172 in December 2019. Hendricks and
instructor Jeff Farkas of All-American Aviation
flight school return to Wilmington International
Airport from a solo flight at Cape Fear Regional
Jetport, Oak Island in December 2019.
Above, clockwise from top: Danielle Donovan (left) and Mary Kuehn took their first
flight together without an instructor in a Cessna 172 in September 2019. Donovan
and Kuehn celebrate becoming commercial pilots in March 2020. Kuehn and Dono-van
fly over Wrightsville Beach in October 2019. Left: Kuehn poses with the Piper
PA-28 Warrior she and Donovan flew to Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport,
Florida in January 2020.
COURTESY DANIELLE DONOVAN AND MARY KUEHN COURTESY TIARA HENDRICKS COURTESY TIARA HENDRICKS 28
WBM may 2020