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Teenager Becomes Pilot with the Help of Scholarship

A Wichita Falls teenager earns his wings thanks to a Wichita Falls woman.

Thanks to a Wichita Falls woman's kindness, a local teenager is now a pilot.

It's a moment 17-year-old Chris Crismon has been waiting for for a long time, the day he gets his license.

Unlike most teenagers his age, Crismon is not prepping for his driving test.

Instead, Crismon is making his pre-flight checks before his final FAA check flight to earn his private pilot's license.

Crismon says he really never thought about flying but over the last couple of years, his interest for aviation took off.

"After I got introduced to it, I started really loving it and I wanted to get my license," Crismon says. "It actually took me two years because I started when i was 14."

Crismon is a cadet with Civil Air Patrol, a non-profit organization that is an auxiliary of the United States Air Force.

The program's mission is to provide emergency services, promote aerospace education and support youth interested in aviation.

Lieutenant Colonel Harriet Smith with Civil Air Patrol says it is very exciting to see young people do something so really positive in their lives.

However, Lt. Col. Smith says flight training is expensive and can keep a cadet from getting their license.

She says Crismon was able to pay for his training thanks to the kindness of a Wichita Falls woman who gave him a scholarship.

"This scholarship allowed him to get the additional training and his check ride because they all cost money so this was, this made it happen and we're grateful to Elizabeth Hawley," Lt. Col. Smith says.

Hawley was there to see Crismon make his final landing.

She says she loves to fly and wants to give teens like Crismon an opportunity to pursue their goals in aviation.

Hawley says, "It's indescribable when you earn your pilot's license and its nice for me to be able to provide that for someone who doesn't have the means to do it."

Crismon says he was nervous but is now relieved he passed and got his wings.

"Getting the oral and check ride done is just like you feel relieved and now you can actually be able to fly on your own and get your own license too to fly and getting the wings pinned on me especially in Civil Air Patrol and being 17, at this age, I'm just so blessed and I feel really great.

An emotion Crismon says he'll feel every time the wheels of the plane leave the ground and he soars into the sky.

He says one day hopes to own his own plane so he can fly his family around and as for the future, he says he wants to be an air traffic controller.
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