Parker Henderson may just be the youngest pilot in the United States. The teen celebrated his 14th birthday on Oct. 10 by making his first solo flight in a Schweizer 2-33 sailplane. Henderson, who lives in Laguna Niguel, Calif., started taking flying lessons shortly after his 13th birthday at Hemet-Ryan Airport, which just happens to be the same airport at which aviation legend Chuck Yeager learned to fly at during World War II.
Good old-fashioned competition kept Henderson on track. The youngest in his family, the teen’s father and 19-year-old brother are both private pilots. The high school freshman was determined to fly solo at a younger age than his brother.
Henderson, whose interest in flying was sparked when he was able to take the controls of an airplane on an EAA Young Eagles flight when he was 8 years old, plans to earn his single-engine land certificate on his 16th birthday.