A Compton teen has become the youngest black pilot to fly around the country
Isaiah Cooper, 16, made history when he landed in his hometown on Monday, July 18 2016 after a 8,000-mile flight flying from California to Maine. Washington, Florida and back to Compton-Woodley Airport. Just two days into his roughly two-week journey, however. Cooper called his flight instructor and mentor Robin Petgrave to tell him he was ready to give up. According to NBCLA. “It was terrifying. I was really scared, I wanted to give up and go home,” Cooper told Mic. “But having conversations with Robin and other people, it calmed my nerves and I continued on with the trip.”
Isaiah encountered bad weather
while in Wyoming which damaged his original plane and forced him to make an emergency landing and switch planes. Petgrove praised Isaiah Cooper for overcoming and finishing his flight. “It’s kinda cool when you see a kid that comes to you with this idea, And this dream and then you help them to realize it,” Petgrave told Mic. “Especially when you have your setbacks like he did when Mother Nature challenged him and he had to execute emergency procedures.”
Cooper’s recent voyage is just the start for the record-breaking teen. Next year after his 18th birthday, Isaiah Cooper said he plans on becoming the youngest pilot to make a solo flight around the world, a record now held by Matt Guthmiller who made the trip when he was 19. The teen started a GoFundMe page to help fund his around-the-world trip. His goal is to raise $45,000. He also notes, on his fundraising page, that he enrolled in an aviation youth program at Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum an organization that gives at-risk youth the opportunity to become pilots, when he was 5 years old.
By Taryn Finley/huffingtonpost.com
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