Young pilot: Alan Said Macisse

HARLINGEN — Seventeen-year-old Alan Said Macisse not only wants to fly jet planes for a living, he wants to design them.

He already has a head start.

Last year he won the Rolls Royce Pegasus Award for outstanding achievement in aerospace engineering studies.

This week, he found out he won the National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists Award for Excellence for performance in science and math studies.

And he already has experience in the air, with almost 200 hours.

Alan is a junior at Marine Military Academy.

The native of Mexico City has one of the highest GPAs in his class — the Class of 2019. He plans to attend Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla.

He has cousins who attended MMA before him. But the reasons he wanted to attend the academy were to improve his grades and get a leg up on his desire to become a commercial pilot and aeronautical engineer.

He got started at an early age. In elementary school, he began flying small, remote-controlled helicopters and then went on to RC airplanes.

He also built wooden RC airplane from scratch — not from kits.

When he arrived at the academy as an eighth grader, he began his plans to become a pilot.

He began flying with a flying instructor when he was 14. And his first solo flight was at the age of 16.

He turned 17 last February and obtained his pilot’s license in May.

His plans are to pursue a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering and then a master’s in business administration.

Then he wants to design jet airplanes — and fly them.

This is what he likes about MMA:

“I’ve learned how to be a leader, how to deal with people, with groups. I’ve learned how to have responsibilities, discipline and one of the things that I have learned is studying by myself, without someone telling me, let’s go get to studying,” he said.