Flying Free: My Victory Over Fear to Become the First Latina Pilot on the US Aerobatic Team

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The poet Mary Oliver once asked, “are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?”

Cecilia Aragon’s memoir, Flying Free, is a story that begins with such a life. The daughter of a Chilean father and a Filipina mother, Cecilia is taunted and bullied throughout her childhood in a small Indiana town during the 1960s. Her teachers dismiss her because of her ethnicity, even though she excels academically and shows a strong aptitude for math. Not surprisingly, Cecilia grows into an insecure and frightened young woman. She is afraid of heights and can barely ride an elevator, and by her mid-twenties, has dropped out of her Ph.D. program for fear of not being good enough. Until she discovers how to fly.

Flying Free reads like a true underdog story in the little-known and dangerous sport of aerobatic flying. From her first flying lessons, to purchasing a plane and performing at air shows, flying becomes like breathing to Cecilia. Her ability to overcome her fears is inspiring as she struggles with finances, her marriage, self-doubt, and being one of the few female pilots—and only Latinx pilot—to attain a place on the US Aerobatic Team. Her story is an inspiration for all of us to take that full breath of life.

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Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 320 pages
Publisher Blackstone Publishing
Publish Date 2020-09-22
ISBN 9781982642464 Buy this Book
Issue October 2020
Category Biographies & Memoirs


  1. Nancy A Kolb

    Loved this book. Especially how Aragon weaves her emotional struggles into her quest to learn to fly. While she is still fearful, she perseveres to success. An inspirational story for girls and all of us.

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