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16-Year-Old Takes Solo Flight
By Eva Allen (Sentinel Contributing Writer)
Published November 17, 2011

Traditional shirt-tail cutting custom for a happy Ingram
–Photos by Eva Allen

Demetrius Ingram completes his first solo flight at Hawthorne Municipal Airport

A crowd of more than twenty gathered to watch 16-year-old Demetrius Ingram prepare for takeoff on his first solo flight Nov. 10 at the Hawthorne Municipal Airport.

After two years of lessons, the Manual Arts High School student boarded a Piper Cherokee 140 along with instructor Robert Harbin for a pre-flight checkout.

Ingram became interested in flying four years ago after a Flight Simulator demonstration given by chief flight instructor, Martell Bush. Ingram began participating in the Aviation Careers Education academy (ACE) at LAX, Van Nuys Airports, and at the Flight Path Learning Center.

“It came out of curiosity. I was curious about how airplanes fly,” Ingram said.
As part of the process to receive his pilot’s license, Ingram had two criteria to meet: be sixteen and pass his medical exam. Ironically, he did both on the day of his birthday.

“He was determined,” said Helen Ingram, his grandmother. “When his doctor couldn’t do it, he found one that could.”

After making two successful solo flights, Ingram and his instructor, Harbin, performed the customary cutting of the shirt-tail and having everyone sign it.

Also on hand were co-founder Don Dennis and volunteer Steven Levy of the Sons of Abraham mentoring program at the City of Refuge Church in Gardena, CA where Ingram is a participant.

“We try to mentor young boys ages 7-17 and head them in the right direction and he’s doing something positive,” Levy said.

The fact that there is a shortage on people applying for piloting careers; Harbin believes Ingram has a good chance at a career in aviation.

“He’ll be more than just a pilot, he’s really good on the radio,” Harbin said.

Ingram plans to continue his future in aviation by attending the University of North Dakota, Air Force ROTC, become a flight instructor and a commercial pilot.

“Once I had the chance to fly in a real plane, everything else fell into place,” Ingram said.

Categories: Local

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