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"Black pilots from Calif. go for records in flight to Canada"
- From: "Stephen Irwin" <stepheni@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sun, 26 Sep 2004 00:42:06 -0500
Sunday, September 26, 2004
Black pilots from Calif. go for records in flight to Canada
The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES - When two youngsters flew from California to Canada and back,
they saw what anyone would have probably seen - cows, horses, lakes and a
snowcapped mountain over Washington state.
But these two saw things from a different perspective. They are pilots -
ages 11 and 14 - and they are both believed to have set world records when
they traveled between Southern California and Vancouver, British Columbia,
this past week.
Arriving home from their three-day trip on Saturday, they were greeted by
family, friends and even members of the legendary Tuskeegee Airmen, who
greeted them at Compton/Woodley Airport.
Eleven-year-old Jimmy Haywood of Compton is believed to have set the world
record as the youngest black pilot to make an international flight.
He piloted the Cessna 172 for 10 hours each way, taking the plane to an
altitude of 8,000 to 9,500 feet. A certified flight instructor came along as
a chaperone but didn't fly the plane.
The other teenage pilot was 14-year-old Kenny Roy of Long Beach. Upon
arriving in Vancouver, he took Canada's flight test and is believed to have
become the world's youngest black pilot licensed to fly solo. Canadian law
allows pilots to be licensed at age 14 versus 16 in the United States.
"I was making history," Jimmy said in a phone interview Saturday after
landing at the Compton/Woodley Airport. "It was cold. It was sunny when we
were in California, but when we got there it was rainy."
Jimmy said he wants to be a Navy pilot, while at this point Kenny just wants
to be a role model for other kids.
"It's exciting. It helps other kids, too, because they're following me. I
set an example for them," he said of his flight.
Publicist Cynthia Macon said Kenny received a surprise after passing his
flight test, during which he had to execute stalls, spins and spiral dives.
"He was met on the ground by airmen, who doused him with a bucket of water.
I guess that's the tradition there," she said.
The boys got their training in the youth aviation program at the
Compton-based Tomorrow's Aeronautical Museum, where they volunteered to work
in exchange for instruction.
Before flying to Vancouver, Jimmy had 20 hours of flight time and Kenny had
Oscar York, president of the Los Angeles chapter of the Tuskeegee Airmen
organization, said the world records were a major accomplishment.
"Even if they don't want to fly later in life, it shows you can do
something," York, who attended Saturday 's festivities honoring the boys,
said in a phone interview. "And they're on their way to a good career,
because they have heads that are already turned to the future."