Photo: Smith says there's nothing like the
rush of piloting an aircraft. "Once you get me up there, it's
so addicting," Smith said. "It's just like there's no way
they're going to keep me out of the air now."
Photo by Patrick Kelly @ Skyshots Photograhy (enlarge
Smith said he decided to go for the
record to show other young people what they can do when they
set their mind to something. "When I like something, I really
like something," he said. "When I set my mind to something,
I stay focused."
His mother, Deonda Smith, said Errick has
never been involved in sports. "This is his sport. This is
what he likes to do."
He beat the old record by six months. Adding to his accomplishment,
he flew not one helicopter, but two.
mother, Deonda Smith, says Errick's interest in aviation
has always been apparent. "He's always wanted to do this,
he hasn't changed and wavered. He's just always had the love
to fly," Deonda Smith said.
Smith's father, Dan, said: "The thing we were,
as parents, excited about was that he had accomplished a personal
goal that he wanted to accomplish and we were very proud of
Errick Smith's love for flight was instigated
by his uncle, Pat Kelly, an aerial photographer in Atlanta,
who would take the 7-year-old up with him during aerial photography
missions, Dan Smith said.
Errick began taking flying lessons two years ago,
when he got lessons as gift for his 14th birthday. At that
time, he could barely see out of the cockpit. Deonda Smith
remembers, "They had booster seats, at first, for him."
of federal aviation law, no one under the age of sixteen is
allowed to fly solo, in planes or in helicopters. By flying
alone on his sixteenth birthday, Errick Smith ensured that
his record will never be broken.
He said he eventually hopes to own his own aviation-related
such as flight charters, tours or training. "I can make
a job out of it and fly for somebody and make money, so that
I can feed my addiction of flying," Smith said.
Deonda Smith said her son's future as
a pilot has its perks for her as well. "I just can't wait
for him to start taking me places," she said.