16-year-old pilot sets world record

16-year-old pilot sets world record

LOS ANGELES, CA (NBC/WMC) - A young pilot landed his place in history after setting a world record in Southern California.

Isaiah Cooper, 16, is now the youngest African-American pilot to fly 8,000 miles across the country.  This accomplishment should earn his a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.

He said the trip wasn't a smooth ride; there were a few bumps on the way.

"In Cheyenne we had an incident," Cooper said. "This wasn't our original plane. And so, from that forced landing I didn't want to, I didn't want to continue with the trip. But [my instructor] kept pushing me and [my family] kept pushing me. And after that, we got this plane, and I continued on and now I'm here."

Cooper, undeterred, set his sights on his next goal. He wants to become the youngest African-American pilot to fly around the world by himself.  He plans to achieve that goal next year, after he turns 18.

Cooper said he owes it all to his focus and to staying the course, even in the face of nay-sayers.

"Just stay focused," Cooper said. "You know, there's a lot of people that will try to detract you from the road that you're on. And 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 and make sure that you have a positive mind and friends and family that will support you."

While he plans for his next big flight, Cooper is basking in his success, and focusing on a much more immediate mission.

"Consistent sleep," Cooper said, laughing. "As soon as I get home I'm going to sleep. But I'm here now with family and friends so I'm just going to enjoy it."

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