INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Olivia Allen first caught the flying bug when she was just a kid.

“My uncle was a air traffic controller in Elkhart, Indiana,” Allen explained. “They had a Young Eagles event. The pilot asked me if I wanted to be up front and so I was in a co-pilot seat and he let me take the controls a little bit and feel around, and it was just amazing.”

Allen later decided to make her love of flight into a career, choosing Vincennes University as the place to study.

“I kind of flip-flopped back and forth between what I wanted to do,” Allen said. “And then I thought back on how much I loved that flight. And I really decided, you know, this is what I want to do; this is what I’m meant to do.”

There was just one obstacle in her path to becoming a pilot.

“Because I’m deaf, born deaf with a cochlear impant, they were worried that I wouldn’t be able to hear the controls,” Allen shared.

Allen passed a discovery flight in high school, but still had to be tested by an aviation medical examiner through the government.

“I got (the test) back, and it said that I had the restriction that I could not fly solo, which you have to do if you want to be a pilot,” Allen said. “So we ended up getting ahold of the FAA and fighting to get that cleared.”

That process took two years, during which Allen said she almost gave up. Almost.

“But I’m here now, so that’s all that matters,” Allen said, smiling.

By here, Allen means she’s now received her private pilot’s license and is working toward an eventual commercial pilot’s license.

For Allen’s instructors at VU, her accomplishments are not surprising, as they are a reflection of the student she’s been in the classroom.

“She sat in the front, she always had great questions,” VU flight instructor Jon McKinney said. “She was always very engaged, so we think that she’s doing a great job and we’re excited to see her continue moving forward in the program, despite all the obstacles.”

And Allen shared her advice for anyone else who may be a kid with a sky-high dream that will require some extra work.

“Don’t give up,” Allen said. “Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do anything, because I actually had a family member tell people that I would never be a pilot because I’m deaf with a cochlear implant and here I am. It’s your future, it’s whatever you want it to be.”

Allen said after this semester, she’ll move into instrument training and be able to fly into the clouds using her instruments. She’s hoping for a check ride in the middle of next summer, which is an important step in the commercial pilot’s license training.