Published: Oct 16, 2012 1:18 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 17, 2012 11:16 AM EDT

FORT MYERS, Fla. - He doesn't have a license to drive yet, but Owen Nicely is well on his way to getting his pilot's license.

The Edison Collegiate high schooler has been flying since he was 11, and Tuesday he celebrated his 16th birthday by going on his first solo flight.

"I'm excited. It's been a long time coming," Nicely said. "I used to intern here and watch people come back from solo (flights) and write their name on the wall and take photos. I'd say, 'That's going to be me one day.'"

According to Nicely's parents, that interest in flying started young. In fact, his first word was 'airplane,' and he seemed destined to take to the skies.

"When he was 5, we were driving down by Page Field and he wanted to come into the gates because this is where he wanted to work. I just knew it was in his blood," said Lisa Nicely, Owen's mom.

That's how he came to be Paragon's youngest student, taking the controls at age 11. Even after checking off more than 100 hours of flight time, he had to wait until 16 to legally fly by himself.

"I can't wait to go up and fly again. I just love it," said Nicely.

He hopes to make flying a career, but isn't sure what kind of pilot he wants to be. Nicely says he might try out helicopters next.