July 23, 2010
By Alton K. Marsh
The movie Pearl , about a 13-year-old Chickasaw girl who was awarded a pilot certificate in 1928, will be shown on the evening of July 30 at EAA AirVenture.
Actress Elijah DeJesus, starring in her first leading role, is scheduled to sign autographs on the morning of July 30 and appear at the screening that night. She plays Pearl Carter Scott, who mastered the Ford Model T at age nine or 10 and drove her blind father to business appointments. By 12 she was familiar enough with machines to become a pilot, thanks to another father who helped her fudge the age requirement on her application.
She was helped by Wiley Post, who happened to have family in her Marlow, Okla., neighborhood. She convinced him during one of his visits to help her become a pilot—the youngest one in the history of United States aviation, according to movie publicists. By 14 she was a barnstormer, a commercial pilot, and on her way to becoming a legend in the Chickasaw Nation and Oklahoma. The movie was funded by the tribe and has done well on the independent film circuit. It debuted in May in Texas, although the Oshkosh appearance is also billed as a premiere by movie producers.
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
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