Aviation ReYOUnion: OBAPs 46th Annual Conference presented by American Airlines

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Earlier this month, the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP) held its 46th Annual Conference in Phoenix, Arizona, presented by American Airlines. Throughout the three-day event, excitement and camaraderie filled the air as 2,000 diverse aviators and aerospace professionals gathered to build community, reconnect, and commemorate their achievements.

Representation Matters

Advancing representation within the flight deck requires significant investment and continual engagement – and Envoy is dedicated to both. However, building long-term change can’t be done alone. That’s why Envoy partners with organizations committed to diversifying the aviation industry, including OBAP. As a Developer Level Sponsor at this year’s conference, the Envoy Recruitment Team funded a professional development session, “Pilot Hiring Prep 101”, where attendees learned best practices for obtaining a job offer.

Among the attendees, was Envoy First Officer Damion Washington who shared, “With less than 3% of commercial airline pilots being black, it’s not very common to see other pilots that look like me.” Damion continued, saying, “It is so encouraging and exciting to meet and reconnect with some of the best and brightest pilots in the industry. Representation matters because it gives birth to vision – it inspires!”

Dreams Take Flight

During the conference, American Airlines extended conditional job offers to 43 aviators, including three Envoy pilots, First Officers Keith Taylor, Damion Washington, and Nicole Wandrey.

As graduates of the Cadet Academy, Keith Taylor and Damion Washington, made history as the first graduates of AA’s pilot training program to make it to the mainline flight deck as first officers. The occasion was made extra special as they were joined by another legend, Capt. Dave Harris, the first black pilot for a major passenger airline hired by American in 1964. Together, these three professional aviators are trailblazers and a testament to the power of perseverance and dedication.

“Receiving the job offer from American Airlines is truly something I will never forget,” Keith said. “It still doesn’t seem real. I’m so excited to fly for American and I plan to continue mentoring and supporting future aviators. It’s our job as cadets to leave the program better than we found it and I will continue to support the Cadet Academy for all it’s done for me.”

Congrats to the newest American Airlines pilots!

Video:

First Two American Airlines Cadet Academy Graduates Hired at American Airlines

Cover photo: Robert Isom (CEO, American Airlines) and Captain Dave Harris (first Black pilot for major passenger airline) with Envoy Pilots Keith Taylor and Damion Washington at the 46th Annual OBAP Conference (pictured left to right). (Photo courtesy of news.aa.com.)