On a sunny afternoon at Compton Airport, 9-year-old Jose Pineda runs across the tarmac and makes a beeline for a single-engine Cessna.
He's completely at ease –- clearly in his element –- laughing and joking about a special celebration coming up. A birthday. He runs his hand along the side of the plane and walks underneath the wing, clearing it with a foot of headroom to spare. He swings open the door and climbs into his seat on the left side of the plane - the pilot’s seat.
Pineda carefully checks the instruments on the console. He picks up a two-way radio to talk to some "grown-ups" who run air traffic control. His seatbelt clicks and he's ready for takeoff. That's right, Pineda is a pilot; a "veteran," he tells us. He’s been studying aviation since he was 6.
Inside the hangar, Pineda's friend, Tasneem Khatib, is also preparing to take to the skies. At 11, she off to a bit of a late start.