Young Pilot Sets Record at 16
“There’s a higher power that’s always there trying to have you focus, so whatever you want to do you can do it, just put your mind to it.”
Those were the words spoken to NBC LA by the record-breaking 16-year-old pilot, Isaiah Cooper, after landing a 8,000-mile flight across the continental United States. He’s the youngest to ever do it. The current record holder is 19.
Grasping hold to this esteemed honor didn’t come without difficulties along the way. Just last week he experienced a microburst (a sudden downward burst of wind from the base of a thunderstorm ) while in the air, resulting in an emergency landing. Without a scratch, he successfully pulled off the landing and continued on to reach his goals in another plane.
The Compton, California native began flying when he was just five when he attended Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum in Los Angeles. Along with his mother, his instructor, Robin Petgrave, has been a huge encouragement along the way.
Still, it hasn’t been easy. Isaiah developed a bit of self-doubt along the way and even called Petgrave to say he planned to call it quits. Thankfully, his instructor continued to encourage the teen, which undoubtedly paid off in the long run.
The young pioneer plans to continue his flights around the world, until he’s able to fly solo at age 18. Isaiah started a GoFundMe page to help fund his global trip. His goal is to raise $45,000.
Straight outta Compton, the sky is the limit for this guy.