But for Pasterski’s teacher, seemingly, this wasn’t enough. So at 12 years old, the determined Pasterski bought a kit with the components she needed to build her own aircraft. She subsequently spent a month constructing the engine from the scraps of other machines, with the completed model being classified as a “Sabrina 0-200A” by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Then, just under a year after starting the project, Pasterski’s airplane was complete. “I told you, Daddy, I told you,” exclaims a teenage Pasterski in a YouTube video she uploaded in 2008, entitled “Building an Airplane for my Dad.” The excitement in her voice is tinged with significance – at just 13 years old, Pasterski has awakened a lifelong, consuming passion for physics.
When seeking clearance for the aircraft, meanwhile, Pasterski marched into the offices of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her diminutive figure stood out in the male-dominated environment and caught the attention of executive secretary Peggy Udden. “I couldn’t believe it. Not only because she was so young, but [also] a girl,” she told news website OZY in January 2016.