Two Black Pilots Are Teaching Black Kids How To 'Fly For The Culture' With A Free Aviation Program
Courtland Savage started Fly For The Culture last year in an effort to increase the number of minority pilots.
May 03, 2019 at 8:32 pm
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that only 3% of all commercial pilots in the U.S. are Black, and a duo of Black pilots are teaming up to address this issue. Pilots Courtland Savage and Jerome Stanislaus have created a nonprofit called Fly For The Culture to offer opportunities for young Black kids to learn more about aviation.
The statistics on U.S. pilots are eye-opening. More than 90% of all U.S. pilots are white, and 91% are male. However, that did not stop Savage and Stanislaus from rolling up their sleeves and trying to change things.
Fly For The Culture offers free flying lessons for minorities and mentorship opportunities for those who would like to pursue careers in the sky. The group also tries to promote aviation culture in underprivileged communities and increase chances for Black people yearning to fly.
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"But I never believed that I would ever actually become a pilot," Stanislaus told CNN in an interview. "I did not really believe it was possible — even though I had so much support from my family. I told myself I couldn't do it because I had never seen a Black pilot — not one time. I didn't think that Black kids actually grew up to be pilots. I thought it was just rich white kids.
The idea behind the project came from Savage, a commercial pilot in North Carolina, who thought the high-paying jobs in the aviation industry should be open to Black people.
"I just want to use this nonprofit to get that idea out there. We didn't expect all this to happen," he said in a CNN interview. "We were just two young guys who want to fly kids."
Savage added that the increase in flights across the world has opened up more opportunities for minorities to get experience and become pilots. The two originally were paying the $150 per flight out of their pockets, but donations began to pour in thanks to a hefty amount of news coverage.
"Aviation is just, it's a very expensive career to get into. It is definitely a barrier," Stanislaus told CBS reporter Michelle Miller. “I told myself I would probably never be a pilot because I never saw a pilot that looked like myself.”
With the increase in funding, they plan to expand the nonprofit nationwide. They started taking kids on flights last year and have so far given flights to about 30 children.
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