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This 16-Year-Old Is Youngest Black Pilot To Fly Cross-Country

By Victor Trammell

A black male teenager from Compton, California has just made history in the world of aeronautics.

On July 18th, Isaiah Cooper, 16 (pictured), landed at the Compton airport after completing a two-week flight, which covered an 8,000-mile journey around the perimeter of the U.S. mainland. According to NBC’s Channel 4 in Los Angeles, Cooper’s exhilarating air trek earned him a place in the record books.

Cooper was accompanied by a professional flight instructor as he became the youngest African-American to ever  to fly around the continental U.S. This amazing feat did not come without adversity. While flying in Wyoming, the original plane that Cooper commandeered got severely damaged due to bad weather.

An emergency landing was successfully undertaken and the flight resumed after another plane was dispatched for the journey.

“He was able to execute the emergency procedures flawlessly, got it on the road, landed, didn’t damage the houses, the schools, the construction crew, nothing. I mean, he got out of that thing safely,” flight instructor Robin Petgrave told LA NBC Channel 4.

Cooper wrote on a GoFundMe page that he started participating in the youth aviation program at Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum in Compton when he was just five-years-old. However, he said he stopped participating in the program when he became distracted and started “hanging with the wrong crowd.”

“There’s a higher power that’s always there trying to have you focused so whatever you want to do, you can do it. Just put your mind to it,” Cooper told LA NBC Channel 4.

Cooper’s journey in the world of aeronautics is not over. He plans to become the youngest black pilot to fly alone around the entire globe when he turns 18. The Guinness Book of World Records states that the youngest pilot to ever achieve that feat was 19-years-old when they flew solo around the globe.

Matt Guthmiller of South Dakota was the young pilot who set the world solo flight record in 2014 when he ended his global air trek at Gillespie Field in El Cajon.

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