February is Black History Month, and February 16 is International Black Aviation Professionals Day, celebrating diversity in the aviation industry and honoring Black aviators, past and present. To recognize the day, Envoy and American Airlines partnered with Luke Weathers Jr. Flight Academy (LWFA), an Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP)-sponsored school near Memphis (MEM) and across the border in Mississippi, to host a special event designed to give students the opportunity to meet and talk to pilots, mechanics and recruiters, ask questions with industry professionals and hear about real world experiences and career journeys from our team members.
American Airlines Tech Ops Recruiter Kozetta Chapman moderated the panel, which consisted of Envoy First Officers Gustavia Cartwright and Luke Gehauf, and Envoy Aircraft Mechanics Danielle Mitchell and Steven Smith. They were joined by American Airlines Cadet Academy representative, Brandon Jennings, and Envoy Air Ops Recruitment Manager, Eric Rose.
The panelists each shared what motivated them to pursue an aviation career, what a day on the job typically looks like, and advice for aspiring aviators. After a Q&A session, LWFA and TCAT (Tennessee College of Applied Technology) students answered trivia questions for a chance to win two Envoy E170 heritage livery models before breaking for a pizza lunch.
Supporting the future of Black Aviators
As a Developer Level Sponsor, Envoy is committed to supporting OBAP programs and initiatives to grow, support and diversify the future pilot and mechanic pipeline, including with partner events at locations such as the Luke Weathers Jr. Flight Academy. Named after Lieutenant Colonel Luke Weathers Jr., the first African American air traffic controller, OBAP founded the school to honor his contributions to aviation and aerospace. The facility offers life-changing flight training for students from Memphis area schools and beyond.
OBAP and schools such as the Luke Weathers Jr. Flight Academy have aggressive plans to increase the diversity of the industry by at least 50 pilots per year within the next 5 years. To assist in this ambitious goal, American Airlines recently announced a $1.5 million donation to assist OBAP with resource grants and scholarships.
“The Luke Weathers Flight Academy is a one-of-a-kind training ground where students of all backgrounds, especially aspiring pilots of color, can receive the training, support and mentorship pivotal to their success in the pilot profession,” said Ret. Captain and Co-Director of the Luke Weathers Jr. Flight Academy, Albert Glenn. “American’s support will only amplify our ability to prepare more aviators for successful careers.”
We look forward to continuing our work with OBAP and we hope to see some of the bright, young students from Luke Weathers at Envoy in the future!