Washington D.C. teen Christopher Ballinger is stepping into his own Black excellence as he is on track to become the youngest Black aviator in our nation's history. The 17-year old is set to obtain his private pilot license via the Air Force Junior ROTC's flight academy program. A rising senior at Sidwell Friends School, Ballinger enrolled into an eight-week summer aviation training program that encourages teens to pursue careers in aviation.
In a statement shared with WUSA9, Ballinger said, "This has been a phenomenal experience for me all the way around, but it has been intense. We wake up at 6 a.m., some mornings at 4:30 a.m. to get ahead of the winds to fly six days a week, hours and hours of ground school, studying to pass all the tests, but it’s so worth it."
After the program, he will have the opportunity to be evaluated through the Federal Aviation Administration. This evaluation will allow him to ride any single-engine land plan that he so desires. He plans to apply to the Air Force Academy after his high school graduation.