Taking to the sky to become a pilot of any sort at a young age is pretty amazing. A 16-year-old Maryland teen has taken amazing to another level. Caleb Smith makes history as the nation’s youngest glider pilot.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), it is truly official that the 10th grader from Charles H. Flowers High School has become the youngest Glider pilot in the United States.
In an interview with WUSA-9, Caleb states that his dream to take to the sky began when he 10-years old during a discovery flight at Bowie Freeway Airport. From then on, Caleb saw himself destined to become apart of the aviation world. Periodically the ambitious teen would fly with a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) just to see if the desire was still there. And it undeniably was. Over time, Caleb began to gradually pursue his dream by having one-on-one ground instruction and airtime in preparation for the day that he became certified and would take to the air alone.
To assist Caleb in achieving his goal of becoming a certified glider pilot, Caleb was awarded a scholarship in May 2021 for gliding school. The talented young man was able to achieve his first solo after 33 flights and has already flown 12 solos. As a result, Caleb passed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) written exam and his check-ride which allows him to obtain his Glider Pilot’s license.
“I was a proud recipient of a “Gliding-Soaring” scholarship. Due to this blessing, I am now a PRIVATE GLIDER PILOT. I received this blessing on Nov 14, 2021. According to my FAA check-ride examiner, I am the youngest PRIVATE GLIDER PILOT in the United States,” Caleb said in a statement on his GoFundMe page.
He continued, “I would’ve never dreamed of such an accomplishment. I have also became endorsed in “winch launch” and “backseat” gliding. I am now focusing on receiving the Go Fund Me monetary support to obtain my powered-engine Private Pilots License (PPL). I currently have 10 flight hours of training. I need to achieve at least 40-60 hours.”
In terms of the future, of course Caleb has very very big plans.
“My personal standards are to continue with my leadership skills training originating from the Civil Air Patrol & USAFJROTC (currently a Cadet Staff Sergeant for both organizations) and a member of the Tuskegee Airmen organization chapter. My immediate goal is to graduate from High school (with honors), maintaining my 3.65 – 4.14 GPA, qualify and attend the USAF Academy. I set the bar with high expectations. In 10 years, to continue on the pathway of obtaining the necessary flight hours to fly with a reputable airline agency. So over a period of time, I have learned that this isn’t all about my achievements. I will continue to update my speaking engagement material and interact with the youth inspiring them, giving them hope, and reassuring that they have a purpose in life. Just as I have accomplished these goals in early life, SO CAN THEY.”
And of course, we have no doubt that you are going to accomplish your goals and then some! Congratulations, Caleb. We cannot wait to see what the future holds.