WATCH: Teenage pilot from Compton to set new world record
LOS ANGELES, CA - Meet 16-year-old Isaiah Cooper. He doesn't have a driver's license yet, but he's already licensed to fly. Growing up in Compton he got onto a bad path, but now, thanks to the Tomorrow's Aeronautical Museum’s program for inner city youth, he's on his way to setting a world record.
He told reporters, “I'm hoping to be the youngest, at the age of 18, to fly around the world, solo, by myself...But during this test flight, I'm gonna be 16 and I'll be flying around the United States, breaking the record to be the youngest African American to fly around the United States.”
The first flight, taken with an instructor is over 8,000 miles and will take over a week to complete.
Robin Petgrave, founder and Executive Director of TAM, started the program 16 years ago, and couldn't be prouder of his students' accomplishments. He said, “His trip around the country is going to be amazing. Each stop that he makes Tuskegee airmen are coming to autograph this airplane which has their logo and its painted red tail...This way the whole country can come together and be united over a young person doing some amazing things.”
The program teaches the students to fly- in more ways than one. They use aviation enrichment to motivate academic and personal achievement- that carries on into their professional lives.
We wish Isaiah Cooper the best of luck on his journey.