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‘Girls Rock Wings’ Aims To Expose Black Girls To Aviation

By DeAnna Taylor

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It’s no secret that Black and brown women are underrepresented in the aviation industry, especially as pilots. Women of color represent less than 1 percent of professional pilots in today’s industry.

This was the main source of inspiration behind the creation of Sisters of the Skies, Inc. (SOS). Angel Hughes and Nia I. Wardlaw, both Black women pilots, came together to create this organization to provide encouragement and support for other women of color in the field.

Beth Powell, duty pilot for American Airlines and Sisters of the Skies Advisor, was instrumental in growing the organization from a social networking group to a 501c3 non-profit organization that focuses on scholarship, mentorship, and social interaction.

Photo courtesy of Sisters of the Skies, Inc.

The organization is now taking things a step further. Next month, they will host their second installment of Girls Rock Wings, a one-day youth outreach event where they expose young Black girls and women to aviation with a focus on becoming professional pilots. The event will take place in Houston on April 27.

“It is especially important because being able to relate to women who look like them, allows young African American girls to see what is possible,” Beth Powell tells Travel Noire. “With more women of color empowered from this message, we will see a significant shift resulting in a more diverse pilot group across the industry.”

Photo courtesy of Sisters of the Skies, Inc.

Throughout the day, participants will visit different interactive stations like visiting the Air Traffic Control tower, exploring flight planning and execution, and using a flight simulator. The girls will also have the chance to take introductory flights, where they get to fly small airplanes with a flight instructor that looks just like them.

In addition to hosting Girls Rock Wings, SOS hosts an annual fundraising scholarship gala to raise money and award scholarships for flight training. The organization recently launched a mentorship program designed for women of color, ages 16 and up, who aspire to become professional pilots.

Related: Woman Becomes First Black Female Pilot In Georgia’s Air National Guard

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DeAnna Taylor

DeAnna Taylor is a criminal defense Attorney turned travel blogger, author, and writer. While Charlotte, NC (her hometown) is her base, she's always somewhere on a plane. Catch her on IG: @brokeandabroadlife.

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