Until a year ago I was an ordinary person who wanted to achieve the honor of being in the ranks of pilots. Figuratively and literally speaking, becoming a pilot sets an aviator apart from the world. Having that rank in the fraternity of aviators is a very rewarding and humbling experience. Every time I take the seat behind the control of an aircraft I am most proud of my accomplishments.
Less then one year ago it was only my imagination that could take me flying. It wasn’t until I was made aware of an organization that gave young inspiring aviators an opportunity to solo an aircraft in just two weeks. As I read about that organization I came into the knowledge and learned that it was the Organization of Black Airline Pilots (OBAP) and the solo camp they offered I wasted no time in filling out an application. I anxiously waited for the processing of my application to be accepted into the camp. The time had finally arrived; not knowing what to expect besides the fact that I will be flying real airplanes and hopefully soloing an aircraft in two weeks I paid close attention to every piece of information I was presented with. Before I realized it I was fully submerged in an environment strictly dedicated to aviation. Every corner I turned in the halls of the airport was a captain of an airline or a pilot of some sort. Being surround in this environment gave me somewhat of an insight of the environment I would be apart of if I joined the ranks of pilots.
During the duration of the camp I accomplished the goal at which I waited so long to achieve as I soloed an aircraft for the first time. This remarkable accomplishment is one that I feel will never grow old in my memory. Upon completion of solo flight camp OBAP pointed me in the direction of another opportunity I could not afford to pass; to obtain my private pilot license in just one month. This scholarship through OBAP would pay for my entire flight training expenses. Yet again I wasted no time in studying to obtain the requirements to receive the Private Pilot Scholarship. As summer finally approached I headed to Michigan, home of the airport at which I would be receiving my pilot training. Throughout the accelerated course I found myself learning so many different aspects about flying that I never knew before. Just as fast as it began it was over, four weeks and a Private Pilot License later, I had finally joined the ranks that I was desperately striving to achieve.
In less than one year the director, Captain Milon, of the Solo Flight Academy, the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, his staff and the many members who sacrificed there time, efforts and money in rewarding me with no spared expenses in training, have afforded me the experience that will last a lifetime. I am truly grateful and appreciative for the tremendous opportunities OBAP has awarded me. Thanks to each and everyone who made this opportunity possible.
I would like to speak about my experience with the Private Pilot Flight Academy (PPFA) sponsored by OBAP. I have been flying since I was thirteen years and have always been interested in aviation. I have previously attended other camps for flying, one with Embry-Riddle in Arizona. The OBAP Atlanta ACE Camps in 2005, and OBAP Advanced ACE Camp Flight Line. All were fun, but none were as rewarding as the PPFA.
I have waited for so long to hold my Private Pilots Certificate. I have been telling my mom for years that she will be the first passenger that I take with me. So when I heard about the PPFA through, Mr. Julius Alexander, and the possibility to obtain my Private Pilot through a scholarship that would pay for all costs was an opportunity I could not pass up. I applied and was relieved to find out that I received the scholarship. When I started my training I was flying whenever I had good enough weather, in Georgia during the summer that is not always a guarantee. I worked hard to practice maneuvers and work on requirements. Also I was studying for the oral part of the flight exam.
I would usually get up and be at the airport between 7 A.M. and 8 A.M. At the beginning I would usually stay at the airport until around 5 or 6 P.M. Towards the end of the training I was at the airport until around 10 or 11 P.M. The training is exhausting but it is fun. How could I have more fun than flying for free basically all day? My exam was Friday August 8, I was as nervous as I was taxiing out for my first solo. The exam went great, the examiner said I had been trained very well thanks to Mr. Alexander and my flight instructor Star Lee Rogers. I passed the oral but there was a maintenance problem with the airplane so the flight portion was delayed until that Sunday. When I came back for the check ride everything went smoothly, the examiner complimented again on my training and flying skills and I received my Private Pilots Certificate.
I was ecstatic about becoming a certified pilot and could not get a smile off my face that day. I would really like to thank OBAP and Captain Ron Milon for providing me with this wonderful scholarship and would like to encourage any more young aspiring aviators to apply. Once again I thank the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals for this opportunity.