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Teen pilot, 16, looking to break flying world record

AIMING HIGH: Isaiah Cooper, 16, wants to become the youngest ever person to fly around the world

A YOUNG pilot from California is hoping to add his name to the aviation record books.

Isaiah Cooper, 16, is on a mission to become the youngest black person to fly around the continental United States.

He arrived at the jetport from Albany, New York Monday afternoon. He had flown from Erie, Pennsylvania to Albany earlier in the day, and took off for La Guardia Airport in Queens, New York after his stop in Portland.

"I like aviation. I love planes and helicopters," said Cooper. "As a young kid, I watched over seven people break records from the same foundation I'm under, and I love it."

Cooper's journey began on July 5 when he departed the Compton airport. He's flying about three legs a day, logging five to six hours each day.

This mission to fly the continental US is all to train for a larger goal: To become the youngest person ever to fly solo around the earth.

Since he was five, Cooper has been a student at Tomorrow' Aeronautical Museum, a non-profit organisation that teaches inner-city youth how to fly. The non-profit and its owner, Robin Petgrave, are financing the teen's journey.

The first plane, a Grumman Cheetah, belonged to the school. When it was damaged, the teen's instructor, Roger Azad, had his own private plane, a Cessna 172, brought from Los Angeles to Wyoming so they could continue their journey.

“When I fly I feel invincible, like I’m on the top of the world. I love it,” Cooper said.

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