According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 9 percent of all commercial aircraft pilots in the U.S. are women and less than 3 percent are black. Let that sink in.
Courtland Savage, a former navy pilot and current commercial airline pilot, hopes to change these disparities. The North Carolina native understands the difficulties that come with being a minority in the field, including the steep financial costs associated with aviation. He decided to do his part to expose marginalized children to aviation by founding the nonprofit program Fly for the Culture. It promotes diversity and inclusion within the aerospace industry by offering free flying lessons as well as mentorship for future pilots.
“What we do is take kids on introductory flights. Kids who have never even stepped foot on an airfield,” says Courtland. “This organization was created to promote diversity in the aviation industry. Most minority kids don’t even know it’s possible nor have seen pilots that look like them in airplanes, so we show them by putting them in a plane with a black pilot and taking them flying for their first time ever.”