By Ellen Turner
Isaiah Cooper, the 16-year-old World Record breaking pilot from Compton, CA will visit Fontana at the Fontana Park/ Jessie Turner Center on Saturday, September 10 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The City of Fontana and the Concerned Citizens for the Development of North Fontana will hold their 1st ‘Unity in Community Day’ and The “Chillin’ and Grillin” Bar-BQ Cook-off.
Isaiah Cooper and Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum’s (TAM), Executive Director Robin Petgrave, will attend this event and speak about the record breaking flight around the continental United States. Isaiah is the youngest African American to ever make this flight. It was an Epic journey and he had to overcome a serious challenge and became a real-life hero. He is now preparing to break the Guinness World Record as the first African American to fly solo around the world when he turns eighteen.
Robin Petgrave is the founder and Executive Director of Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum (TAM) and has helped Cooper through this process. His program helps inner city youth expand their vision and dreams. Despite running a busy flight school and tour company, he made time to bring kids from around South Los Angeles to his hangar at Torrance Airport to teach them about flying.
Recognizing the positive effects of learning aviation on kids considered at-risk, Robin felt he could have more of an impact. So in 1998, he established Torrance Aeronautical Museum and made it his personal mission to engage at-risk youth in aviation as an alternative to the negative influences in their environment. TAM is now operated out of the Compton Airport.
Robin first started by reaching out directly to students at their schools. Instead of just guest speaking at school functions, he did something unheard of at the time: landing his Robinson R44 helicopter directly on school grounds. He would speak to students about the importance of their education in becoming successful in life and achieving their dreams.
The Concerned Citizens for the Development of North Fontana invited these pilots to the Unity in Community event because of the positive impact that it can bring to young people in Fontana. Isaiah will have an opportunity to speak to the people in attendance and share his 8,000 miles and fourteen day journey around the continental United States.
There will be lots of activity at the Chillin’ and Grillin’ BarBQ Cook-off. Several community organizations will compete to see who cooks the best BarBQ Ribs and Chicken. There will also be live entertainment and fun for the kids. The event will be held at Jessie Turner Center and tasting starts at 10am. Ticket are $10 and are available by calling (909) 333-9950.