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Monday, August 29, 2022

17-Year-Old Teen From DC Becomes One of the Youngest Black Pilots in the U.S.

Christopher Ballinger, Youngest Black Pilot

Nationwide — Christopher Ballinger, a 17-year-old student from Washington, DC, is making history as one of the youngest Black pilots in the US after recently earning his pilot’s license.

Christopher has always loved flying and going to different new places.

“I have had this interest for a while,” Christopher told ABC7. “This was something that was calling for me.”

So when an opportunity to join the Air Force Junior ROTC Flight Academy Program, he took it even though it was challenging. He was indeed selected as one of the hundreds out of the thousands to be to able participate in the 8-week program.

During the program, he had to wake up at around 5 a.m. every day and take written and flying tests. Overall, he flew for a total of 55 hours. He completed his ride exactly on the day he turned 17 years old, which is the minimum age to earn a private pilot license.

“I feel relieved that I actually did it,” he said.

As a licensed pilot, Christopher, who is currently a senior student at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC, now aims to eventually join the Air Force Academy. He dreams of flying military planes someday.

Moreover, Christopher hopes he could inspire young ones like him to achieve their goals even though it gets hard sometimes.

“Look for any and all opportunities if one shows up take it because I promise you it will be worth it. Even if it doesn’t feel like it in the long run or maybe right after, you will see some results,” he said.