Compton Teen Makes History As The Youngest Black Pilot To Fly Across America

Isaiah Cooper, 16, made history after completing a record-breaking flight across the continental US. The Compton native has since been recognized as the youngest black pilot to accomplish such a feat during a trip that lasted approximately two weeks.

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Cooper’s 8,000-mile flight, which concluded on Monday (July 18), did not come without challenges. However, he overcame bouts of rough weather with ease according to his flight instructor Robin Petgrave.

“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,” Petgrave told NBC LA.

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Now, the teen is ready to check off another goal of becoming the youngest pilot to fly around the world. In a GoFundMe campaign, Cooper discusses the positive impact flying has made in his life. “I began attending an aviation youth program in Compton at Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum (TAM) when I was 5 years old. But as I got older, I began hanging with the wrong crowd, doing seriously self destructive things,” he admitted. “Realizing that this was not how I wanted to live my life, I returned to TAM. My main goal is to become a productive young man with a future in aviation, and not a statistic.”

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With one major milestone behind him, Cooper is certainly on the right path to greater success.