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Who's Next?: Jamail Larkins

Entrepreneur Jamail Larkins, 25, is the founder of the Ascension Aircraft aviation sales, leasing, and consulting business. He says he became addicted to flight when he took his first flying lesson at age 12. At age 14 Larkins petitioned to the FAA for an exemption to fly solo before his 16th birthday, but was turned down. This prompted him to write more than 100 letters to companies to see if they would sponsor a trip to Canada, which has a lower age limit. "I had the opportunity to meet some major players, including John and Martha King from King Schools, which makes flight training products," Larkins recalls. "I told them I wanted to start up my own company to help pay my flight costs. They eventually said, 'Well, you could become a distributor for us.' I started off selling instruction books and videos and grew into avionics and pilot supplies. A couple years later, I started to broker aircraft transactions and then began leasing them. To be honest, I'm not 100 percent sure how I got corporations to buy from me, because most of them knew I was 16 years old."

November 12, 2009

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