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Sat, Jun 24, 2006

Teen Pilot To Kick Off Aviation Career With Piloting First

Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda... What Were YOU Doing at 14?

Relatively few pilots ever receive dual certification in fixed and rotor wing aircraft. NONE of us has ever solo both types of aircraft at the tender age of 14... on the same day!

But that's exactly what an Inglewood, CA boy hopes to do next week. Jonathan Strickland would become the youngest person to fly solo in a helicopter and an airplane on the same day.

The trick is, he's got to do it in Canada, where aviation laws allow student fliers as young as 14... two years younger than US regulations.

Jonathan is the latest young pilot to take flight as part of Tomorrow's Aeronautical Museum, an innovative non-profit program (with a really neat name) started by Robin Petgrave, that enables youth to convert community service time to flying time.

Kenny Roy, 15, of Compton, CA, made headlines last year when Petgrave accompanied him on a similar flight into Canada, where the boy soloed in a Cessna 152 and became the youngest African American licensed to fly alone, albeit in Canada.

Strickland and Petgrave departed Compton Airport on Thursday, June 22, for Vancouver, BC in a Robinson R-22 helicopter.

Jonathan is expected to solo both the chopper and a Cessna 152 sometime next week.

"With so much negative happening with African American youth right now, [Jonathan's] on his way to something that's extremely lucrative," Jonathan's father told KABC Radio in Los Angeles.

Never mind lucrative... that's just plain cool. ANN's pulling for you, Jonathan.

FMI: www.mentormall.cc/tamprofile.cfm, www.robinsonheli.com, www.cessna.com


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