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A DC Teen is Soaring Toward Becoming the Nation’s Youngest Black Pilot

Christopher Ballinger, 17, is on his way to becoming one of the youngest licensed private pilots in the country, per WUSA9. The Air Force Junior ROTC flight academy program is to thank for setting Ballinger up for success. It’s been time to crank up that 2 percent of Black pilots a few notches.



According to WUSA9, Christopher Ballinger, 17, is on track to become one of the nation’s youngest licensed private pilots. We can thank the Air Force Junior ROTC flying academy program for putting Ballinger on the path to success. It’s time to turn that 2% of Black pilots up a notch or two.

According to the story, Ballinger is a rising high school senior on schedule to graduate with a Private Pilot License and begin his first year of college (PPL). A private pilot license can only be obtained at the age of 17. He will be qualified to fly after passing his instrument “checkride” with the Federal Aviation Administration.

It has been intense, but overall this has been a fantastic experience for me. We get up at 6 a.m., and on some mornings at 4:30 a.m., to beat the winds and fly six days a week. It takes a lot of ground school and studying to pass all the exams, but it’s worth it, said Ballinger to WUSA9.

Ballinger hopes to join the Air Force someday and fly. Fortunately, a plan is being developed to increase possibilities for boys who resemble him.

The Air Force Times has more.

Ballinger has been enrolled in an eight-week Flight Academy course at Walla Walla University, according to WUSA9. He was the second cadet prepared to conduct a solo cross-country flight, a job that typically requires applicants to train for months.

Black people make up fewer than 12% of all pilots throughout all aviation sectors, including the Air Force and commercial aviation. Our youth will start to dominate fields where we have traditionally been underrepresented. Teenager Caleb Smith from the DMV was recently recognized by the Air Force, given the chance to fly an Air Force helicopter over Washington, DC, and is currently working on obtaining his glider pilot’s license, according to WUSA9.

It is very uplifting to witness children’s responses to the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” come to life.