A Black women’s pilot group hopes to increase diversity in the sector through a mentorship program, Good Morning America (GMA) reports.
Sisters of the Skies (SOS) is a group of professional Black women pilots who came together to help change the number of Black women represented in their field. As it stands, there are less than 150 Black women pilots in the United States; that’s less than 1% of representation in the entire career field. The group hopes to change that by creating community, programs, and pathways that allow more Black women to get their licenses to be an airline transport pilot, commercial, military, or certified flight instructor.
“Young ladies don’t know what they can accomplish because sometimes in order for us to be something, you have to see something. I have been mistaken more times than I care to count for someone other than a pilot,” one SOS member told GMA.
“Most people they’re like, ‘Oh, you’re the actual pilot?… You do the takeoff and the landing?’… I’m like ‘Yeah, it was us,'” another member added.
They said that Black women are such a scarcity in the field that they’re often mistaken for anything but the pilot. Through the program, the women are working to “drastically improve [the] number [of Black women in the sector] through mentorship, professional development, STEM, outreach and scholarships” for prospective pilots.
16-year-old Victoria Wentt is one of the current mentees matriculating through the SOS program, hoping to break barriers to fulfil her dream of becoming a pilot.
“There’s been people, they bring up the money…but I try to look past that. This is what I want to do now. I want to be a commercial airliner. A [Black female pilot] is a very rare sight, but I hope to be one of them,” Wentt said.