Kenny Roy was born in 1990 and raised in Compton, California. While still a child, his parents bought him a flight simulator for his computer, and his love of flying had not diminished since. He then discovered a youth program near his home and joined Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum, run out of Compton/Woodley Airport. It was soon discovered that Kenny Roy was a natural, and after volunteering at the museum in order to obtain free flying lessons, he soon logged over 50 hours of flight time and became an accomplished pilot.
However, it was not enough for him, and Roy decided and aimed to fly solo. The legal age in the United States to earn a solo pilot’s license is 16, but he was determined not to wait that long. Through the Compton youth-aviation program had Roy met eleven-year-old Jimmy Haywood, another enthusiastic young pilot who had some 20 hours’ worth of flying experience. The two decided to make history with a flight to Canada in order for Roy to earn his solo license. With a certified flight instructor at their side, the two boys set their course for Canada. When they made it to Vancouver, Kenny took a physical and then went aloft with an instructor. As part of the test, he had to demonstrate stalls, spins, and spiral dives in the plane; back on the ground he took a tough written exam, the Canadian Pre-Solo Aeronautical Test, for which he had studied over a lengthy two-day marathon session. He successfully passed the exam, becoming the youngest black pilot in the world to be licensed to fly solo.