TUSKEGEE, AL (WSFA) - The number of minority pilots in both commercial and military aviation is around 2 percent according to the Red Tail Scholarship Foundation. With a passion to preserve history and make sure the legacy of the Tuskegee Airman doesn't fade away, the nonprofit organization is dedicated to seeing that change.
Thursday the Red Tail Scholarship Foundation held a discovery flight for Daisnu Laurent Jr. Laurent has dreams of becoming a fighter jet pilot in the U.S. Air Force.
The opportunity to see the world from thousands of feet in the air is exhilarating for the Valiant Cross Academy eighth-grader.
"I feel a whole lot more free especially feeling gravity like how it is," said Laurent Jr.
Landing the plane at Moton Field during the discovery flight was 20-year-old Tuskegee University Student Torius Moore.
"I was in his shoes not too long ago," said Moore.
Moore started flying nearly two years ago and was the first Red Tail Scholarship Foundation recipient to get his private pilot's license.
"I am working on my instrument right now. That is the next step after your private pilot's license. I am about a third of the way done," said Moore. "I would like to be a fighter pilot for the Air Force and hopefully go on to be an astronaut."
By providing funding, mentorship and other resources, the foundation aims to increase the percentage of African-American pilots in both commercial and military aviation.
"If they don't see it as a potential opportunity then they may never look at aviation as a viable career field," said Hammond Cobb with the Red Tail Scholarship Foundation.
In just a year the program has helped five students work towards building a future in the aviation industry.
"Most of us believe it is an access factor. We have to go the extra mile to reduce the barriers," Cobb said.
The Red Tail Scholarship Foundation has done more than half a dozen discovery flights with students who demonstrate an interest in careers as pilots or other aviation career fields.
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