Video: Flying high to inspire

By NBC News
updated 4/21/2006 7:39:24 PM ET 2006-04-21T23:39:24

Meet an extraordinary young man. He’s a pilot— and a young one at that—making a name for himself in aviation circles while also finding ways to “Make a Difference.

In the air or on the ground, Jamail Larkins is one impressive 22-year-old.

He’s a licensed pilot who’s not yet out of aeronautical college and already he’s launching a national speaking tour of a hundred urban schools, working to inspire kids in neighborhoods where “inspiration” is sometimes hard to come by.

“You can do the exact same thing,” Jamial tells kids, “going out there, working hard, meeting new people that can help you be successful in life.”

“Success” is one thing Jamail’s had plenty of.

He learned to fly at age 12, soloed in Canada at 14 (he was too young to fly in the U.S.) and, last year, was named “ambassador” for the Federal Aviation Administration.

“I think he understands, he’s also living the American dream for a lot of kids, and he wants to share it,” says FAA Administrator Marion Blakey. Even at a “twenty-something” age when “making a difference” isn’t typically top-of-mind.

“I don’t have to wait until I’m 30, 40, 50 years old to go out there and start giving back to the local community,” Jamail says.

“He is young, so the children know ‘Oh, it isn’t going to take me ‘til I’m 30’ (which is ancient to them) to be successful,” says Judi Winch, the principal of Daytona Beach’s Westside Elementary School.

Go flying with Jamail and his passion for the skies is obvious.

His message for kids, he says, is not strictly about aviation.  So, what if they turn out not to be a pilot?

“That’s okay,” Jamail says, “as long as they do what makes them happy.”

Whether they go on to or not, Jamail is one young man with a lesson: Aim high.

© 2012 CNBC, Inc. All Rights Reserved


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