Author Topic: Teen Flying Around The Country Solo To Learn About Black World War II Pilots  (Read 3738 times)

Offline KB4TEZ

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Found this really neat and inspiring

Zaire Horton is attempting to reconnect to the generations who came before him. According to CBS News, the Chicago teen has plans to fly across the country by himself to visit seven HBCUs that taught Black pilots how to fly during World War II.

He wants also wants to pay homage to the schools that fought against civilian pilot training programs during the time that excluded Black pilots, WDTN reports.According to WDTN, Horton was introduced to flying when he was a freshman in the College Preparation and Placement Program at Dunbar Vocational Career Academy in Chicago. He got his start flying Cessna planes and Taildaggers at the age of 14, and at 16, he earned his glider pilot license before flying his first solo flight.

“My freshman year high school at Dunbar,” he told CBS News of when he found his love for flying. “I guess there was an aviation program that started the same year I was a freshman and I never even heard about aviation, never knew that it was a thing.”

He continued, saying he was initially hesitant of learning how to fly.

“At first, I didn’t actually think I would learn this stuff because I thought it was going to be complicated,” he said.

After his third class, he was hooked. His instructor took him flying and his dream of becoming a cargo or commercial pilot was ignited. Now, barely two years later, he’s traveling to seven HBCU’s involved in teaching Black pilots how to fly during World War II.

“The seven states that my instructor and I have selected for my tour all house a historically Black university that played an instrumental role in the history of aviation,” Zaire said, WDTN reports.

He explained to CBS News that many people think that Tuskegee University was the only HBCU to train budding Black pilots, but other institutions were involved as well.

“Most people don’t realize that Tuskegee wasn’t the only university or HBCU that was training pilots for World War II,” he said.

According to WDTN, the teen’s first stop was Lewis Jackson Airport in Xenia, Ohio.

Horton not only wants to honor the past, but he also wants to inspire future young pilots curious about aviation.

“I want to encourage teens who would be interested to learn to fly without encountering some of the socio-economic barriers typically associated with careers in aviation,” he said to WDTN. “Flying is another way to open doors and I want to inspire them to experience that.”