Did you know that only 3% of all commercial pilots in the United States are Black? I know, it seems shocking. Well, a Black pilot has created a nonprofit called Fly For The Culture to encourage and offer opportunities to Black kids to learn about flying and change that percentage. Founder and pilot Courtland Savage along with fellow pilot Jerome Stanislaus hope that through their program, more Black kids will get interested in aviation and take to the skies.
“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.”
Fly For The Culture promotes aviation culture in underprivileged communities as well as offers free flying lessons for minorities. They also offer mentorship opportunities for those who are interested in a career in aviation.
Savage, a commercial pilot in North Carolina, wanted to make sure that Black people knew they had options to find a career in the aviation industry.
“I just want to use this nonprofit to get that idea out there. We didn’t expect all this to happen,” he said. “We were just two young guys who want to fly kids.”
“Aviation is just, it’s a very expensive career to get into. It is definitely a barrier,” Stanislaus told CBS. “I told myself I would probably never be a pilot because I never saw a pilot that looked like myself.”
The two originally were paying the $150 per flight out of their pockets, but donations soon began to come in thanks to publicity. Now, with the extra funds, they plan to spread their wings and expand their nonprofit world wide.