Caleb Smith, a Black teenager from Prince George’s County, Maryland, has become the youngest glider pilot in the United States. His record triumph comes after 23-year-old Malik Sinegal made history as the youngest African American to be certified as a Boeing 777 pilot last year.
Smith is currently a 10th grader at Charles H. Flowers High School in the city of Springdale and had his first experience with aviation at the age of 10 at Bowie Freeway Airport.
This experience sparked his interest and ambition in aviation. He spent time with a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) and went on to receive one-on-one ground training and airtime. This eventually led him to receive a gliding school scholarship in May 2021.
Despite the pandemic, Smith, 16, continued with his training. He even flew solo for the first time after 33 attempts. He has now flown 12 solo flights and recently passed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) written exam.
According to WUSA-9, Smith was confirmed as the youngest private glider pilot in the United States. He has since become a member of Destiny Aviation Services and was awarded a scholarship from Skyline Soaring Club at Front Royal Airport in Virginia.
Smith said he is grateful to Skyline Soaring Club at Front Royal Airport for awarding him a scholarship that helped him to achieve this goal.
He also hopes that his story will inspire many teenagers like him, particularly those from minority backgrounds. He believes that they can achieve their dreams like him when they get a good education, maintain values, show love and respect to others and stay connected with God.
Smith’s ultimate goal is to become a commercial airline pilot and to materialize this dream, he wants to attend the U.S. Air Force Military Academy upon graduation from high school.