The Organization for Black Aerospace Professionals, a Chicago-based nonprofit that encourages the advancement of minorities in aviation and aerospace careers, is opening an aviation learning facility near Memphis, Tennessee, with plans to increase diversity of the airline industry by “50 pilots per year within the next five years.”
The Lt. Col. Luke Weathers Jr. Flight Academy is named after the FAA’s first African-American air traffic controller, the organization noted in a June 5 news release. The academy is located across the state line in northern Mississippi, adjacent to the Olive Branch Airport, and close to the Memphis global hub of commercial package transportation giant FedEx.
The facility will offer learning options for nearly every facet of the aviation industry, including training in Part 141 and 161 operations, unmanned pilot operations, aviation maintenance, air traffic control operations, and U.S. Air Force candidate flight training. The facility will also offer jet and military rotor wing to fixed wing transition training.
A June 20 ribbon cutting ceremony was planned to coincide with a celebration of aviation for Memphis youth and 50 students planned to participate in discovery flights. Some of the students are participating in the organization’s summer aviation career education youth camps, commonly called ACE camps. The summer camps for young aviation enthusiasts are in their 26th year and are held in 30 U.S. cities.
OBAP’s professional development convention and career exposition is planned for Aug. 14 through 17 in Houston.