DETROIT (WJBK) - Isaiah Cooper is on a mission to become the youngest African American to fly an airplane across the United States. Only 16 years old, Cooper is quickly inspiring young people to follow in his footsteps, and is getting a warm welcome in Detroit.
Straight out of Compton, born and raised, Cooper could soon become another well-known name out of his hometown. He started his journey on July 5, and so far he's flown to Wyoming, Chicago and now Detroit.
"Flying around, it's like a sense of freedom," he said. "You don't get that same sense of freedom when you're just driving a car, so I really love it."
He also talks about flying over the Ambassador Bridge.
"It was beautiful," Cooper said. "Our water isn't that clear. To see that, I was like, 'This is crazy.' It's better than going to Costa Rica or something. It's closer to home than any other place. I really liked it -- it was beautiful."
From here, Cooper will fly to New York, Florida, Texas and back to California -- over 8,000 miles in the sky.
"I live a block away ... from Compton Airport and I used to love planes," he said. "So once I found out there was a program, I was 5 years old and I enrolled in it. After that, I've been in the air."
Cooper made his way to the Coleman A. Young airport on the same day the Tuskegee National Museum of Detroit offered young people a first time experience of flying an airplane.
A lot of proud kids now look up to Cooper.
"It like inspires me to know that I can follow my dreams," said Jalin Hill. "It doesn't matter how old I am. Since he's a teenager flying all the way from California by himself in a plane -- it really inspires me."
Cooper's future plans are to have his pilot license by the time he's 18 years old.
After that, he wants to learn how to operate a helicopter, and possibly pursue a career in movie and production.