- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 26, 2004

LOS ANGELES (AP) — When Jimmy Haywood and Kenny Roy flew from California to Canada and back, they saw livestock, lakes and a snowcapped mountain — and they set a couple of world records along the way.

Jimmy, 11, became the youngest black pilot to make an international flight, and Kenny, 14, passed Canada’s flight test to become the world’s youngest black pilot licensed to fly solo.

Their three-day adventure ended Saturday where it began, at the Compton/Woodley Airport, with a homecoming attended by family, friends and even one of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen.

Jimmy was enthusiastic about his accomplishment, piloting a Cessna 172 for 10 hours each way between Southern California and Vancouver, British Columbia. A certified flight instructor acted as the boys’ chaperone but did not fly.

“I was making history,” he said in a telephone interview from the airport.

Kenny was more restrained about his feat, which included executing stalls, spins and spiral dives to get his license to fly solo. He took the test in Vancouver because Canada allows pilots to be licensed at 14; the limit is 16 in the United States.

“It’s exciting,” he said. “It helps other kids, too, because they’re following me. I set an example for them.”

After he passed his test, Kenny got a wet welcome on the ground when airmen doused him with a bucket of water.

Before flying to Vancouver, Jimmy had 20 hours of flight time and Kenny had 50.

The world records are something that the boys can be proud of forever, said Oscar York, president of the Los Angeles chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen organization.

“Even if they don’t want to fly later in life, it shows you can do something [you set as a goal],” said Mr. York, who welcomed Kenny and Jimmy home. “And they’re on their way to a good career, because they have heads that are already turned to the future.”

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