Today marks the opening of the RedTail Flight Academy at New York’s Stewart International Airport and the start of training of seven minority youth from underserved communities in the academy’s Part 141 pilot training program. Charter provider Wheels Up is providing two internships every year to its graduates and, during a promotional period, donating $1,000 from new Core membership signups to the academy.
The academy honors the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, and Lt. Col. Enoch Woodhouse, one of the Tuskegee Airmen, was on hand to welcome the inaugural cadets during today’s opening. The program is launching with three female and four male students and hopes to grow the percentage of minority pilots to 4 percent during the next 10 years, from the current 2.5 percent (in military and commercial aviation).
The all-volunteer academy was founded by the New York-based Tuskegee Airmen chapter. The training program aims to graduate the cadets in 10 months with a multi-engine commercial pilot license and instrument rating.
“We’re thrilled to finally be able to welcome students to the RedTail Flight Academy to help diversify the aviation industry and perpetuate the values of leadership, courage, and perseverance of the original airmen,” said Glen Fraser, director of Lee A. Archer Jr. Red Tail Youth Flying Program. “The opportunity for our graduates to gain firsthand experience through internships at such a great company ensures they continue to learn aviation skills from industry leaders.”
“We’re honored to be the first Part 135 provider to partner with the RedTail Flight Academy to help support the next generation of aviation talent,” said Wheels Up COO Thomas Bergeson. “By offering two internships every year to academy graduates, we’re committing to diversifying our employee base and offering positions to underserved communities.”