July 10, 1998
By Robert Quintana
As we prepared to take off, images flashed through my mind. I remembered the psychological thriller movie, The Edge. In a scene early in the movie they were peacefully flying in a small, vibrantly colored plane. Suddenly, a flock of birds crashed through the windshield in a bloody mess causing the plane to careen out of control, plundering to the depths of the river below Ana was speaking some kind of pilot talksomething about conditions being not so good. She told me that the clouds made it difficult for her to see.
My thoughts never manifested into an inordinate amount of fear but I think most people only see small planes on the six o'clock news after they have crashed. Despite these thoughts I didn't consider aborting the `mission' for a second
What was the mission you ask? Flying in a small plane for the first time with an award-winning female pilot. You could say that we are promoting aviation--Ana Camberos Provinces' specialty.
While we throttled down the runway I wondered what it would feel like to be diving down out of control. I pictured Ana calmly pressing her eject button and waving goodbye while I struggled in a frenzy to pry loose from the cockpit.
As Ana pulled on the throttle, and we picked up speed, I looked down at my camera, thinking that this would be a good time to take pictures. I changed my mind. The automatic flash might somehow disrupt her concentration and cause aerial difficulties. I quickly withdrew that idea.
When we lifted off though, all worries that I had were soon forgotten. At this point any trace of doubt or fear is useless, I thought and I began to shoot some pictures of the San Diego scenery below. I was riding high now, literally and figuratively.
Just when I began to get more comfortable, the engine seemed to give out. Actually, Ana explained later that she let the throttle loose in order for us to make our descent back to the runway. It kind of felt like I was going down a roller coaster without rails. The sour taste of discomfort was back.
After we landed I was somewhat relieved and pleased at the same time. The thoughts that crossed my mind did not overtake me. Moreover I knew I was with a professional. Ana has been flying for 9 years. From humble beginnings, she has come a long way.
Ana Camberos Province grew up in Tijuana in a poor family of 14.
At an early age Ana's father discouraged her to further her education. "He told me that I had no business in school and that I was put here on earth to do two thingsmake babies and make tortillas. I knew that I wanted something different."
From the time she was 12, she began to work full time while at the same time maintaining her studies. Life was hard, but her desire to overcome prevailed. She continued to work full-time all the way through college, and graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Baja California with a Phi Beta Kappa Key.
It was in college that she met Fred Province. Fred decided to take her on a flight for her first date and that's how the relationship took off as well as Ana's love for aviation.
Fred Province, a veteran pilot continued to take her on various flights until one day Ana began to ask"what if something happened to Fred while we were flying?" Shortly thereafter, she went to flight school. After 42 hours of flight school Ana felt that she was ready for her first solo.
Although most trainees (mostly male) are eager to fly after about 15 hours of training, Ana exercised patience. "For men I think it's a machismo thing. They're out to prove something. I wanted to be prepared for anything."
Her first solo flight was a giant step, mostly psychological, and now she flies just about every weekend. There is something about flying that gives pilots a sense of power. "I think for me and for most other pilots I've talked to, you get a strong feeling that you are in control control of your own destiny," she said. "One wrong move and you could be in trouble."
In addition to flying though, Ana loves to be behind the camera and is partner to Fred Province in the production of a wide variety of shows on public access television titled "Aviation Theatre." For the last 3 years she has won first place in the public access television competition along with her husband. "I used to make videos before Ana came along but I never won any awards. I give her all the credit," he said. Their latest award winning project on female astronauts was on display at the Del Mar Fair.
Currently, Ana is editing their latest film, which features a female wing walker. Although it was not yet completed, it was stunning to watch this wing walker move gracefully as 70-MPH winds pounded her. Even though they continuously tie themselves to different portions of the plane, wing walkers risk their lives when they dance on top of and even hang from these planes.
Looks like they're poised to win another award.
Perhaps Ana's most prestigious award however, is the "Presidential Award" sponsored by the International Organization for Women Pilots or the 99's.The award will be officially given to Ana this weekend in Guadalajara,Mexico at the World Convention for the 99's. She was awarded because of her devotion to promoting aviation, especially her commitment to education among young women.
In fact, she is responsible for creating Aerospace Merit Badge Seminars for Girl Scouts. She began by recruiting other members and, using hangers for classrooms, teaches from 100 to 125 girl scouts about aviation each month. In addition to her current award, Ana received the Girl Scout Spirit Award, the highest award that can be bestowed upon an adult by the Girl Scout Council and was also awarded "Outstanding Role Model" by the San Diego Unified School District for her commitment to the community.
Despite overwhelming odds, Ana has pulled herself out of the brutal grasp of poverty and is busy taking full advantage of all the opportunities available in the United States. "I think that most people don't appreciate the United States," she said. "There are so many opportunities, especially in education."
Education is, without a doubt, a passion in Ana Camberos Province's life. She has earned a certificate as a pilot, a television producer and a fashion designer. In addition, she is a licensed beautician, and she has earned accounting degrees in both Mexico and the United States. Ana is flying high on the back of education, learning as much as she can in every field that interests her. In the process she is carrying as many people as she can with hertruly, a role model for us all.