A 99-year-old woman fulfilled a lifelong dream by taking her first-ever flight lesson in Torrance on Wednesday.

Despite her age, Irene Hasserjian still feels young and full of life.

On a sunny Southern California day, Hasserjian arrived at the Torrance Municipal Airport, also known as Zamperini Field, ecstatic to earn her wings.

“I’m very excited,” said Hasserjian. “It’s been a desire for as long as I can remember.”

For Hasserjian, flying is a familiar feeling, as she spent most of her career as a flight attendant.

“Whenever I went into the cockpit and I saw the pilots flying the plane, that was my desire,” she said.

She says the urge to earn her wings continued growing stronger as she grew older.

A 99-year-old woman sitting in an airplane cockpit at Torrance Airport
A 99-year-old woman, Irene Hasserjian, fulfilled a lifelong dream by taking her first-ever flight lesson in Torrance on Sept. 28, 2022.

For her lesson, Hasserjian was joined in the cockpit by a familiar face — her son-in-law, Gary Palmer, who also happens to be certified flight instructor and pilot.

“I felt it was the right thing to do to make it happen,” said Palmer.

As the pair strapped in and lifted off into the sky, Hasserjian was all smiles and laughter while soaring thousands of feet above the city.

“To finally have that dream come true at 99 is really a big thrill,” said Hasserjian.

Now that she’s learned to fly, Hasserjian isn’t stopping anytime soon.

Next on her bucket list? “I would like to jump out of a plane!” laughs Hasserjian. “Maybe when I’m 100 years old, that will be my birthday gift.”

“As people get older, they seem to sit back and let everyone else do all the deciding things,” said Hasserjian.

She says no one should let age stop them from doing the things they’ve always dreamed of experiencing.

Hasserjian hopes her story will inspire others, regardless of age to “not give up too early and to do things they dreamed about. Follow your dream and enjoy it.”