The RedTail Flight Academy (RFA), based at NY Stewart International Airport, received one of the aerospace industry’s most prestigious accolades on November 3, 2022. The Aviation Week Laureate Award has been honoring excellence in Aviation and Aerospace for 65 Years, and the RFA was this year’s overall winner in the Business Aviation category. (Other categories include Defense, Commercial Aviation, and Space.)
The gathering of more than 500 dignitaries and executives from many of aviation’s most respected defense contractors, airlines and aerospace corporations was in attendance at the Washington, DC National Building Museum black tie event.
“The RedTail Flight Academy received this prestigious award because of our innovative actions and direct impact on preparing the next generation of underrepresented people of color to enter the aviation and aerospace community,” said Glen Fraser, President of the RFA’s Board of Directors. “We use aviation as a platform to recruit, develop, expose and place young men and women of color within the expanding and understaffed industry. We have the ear of the industry, despite the fact that we formed the Academy a little more than a year ago.”
Across all areas of the pilot workforce, less than 4% of the industry is manned by blacks, and less than 1% is black female. “The only way to change things is to be proactive,” said Fraser, a retired Air National Guard lieutenant colonel and 37-year airline captain. “We want to honor the Tuskegee Airmen, who paved the way for a person like myself to participate in an incredible industry.”
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The RedTail Flight Academy is Inspired by the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen. The Newburgh, NY chapter of Tuskegee Airmen Inc. has dedicated over two decades of mentoring and aviation experience to more than 900 students of color and underrepresented talent. We have numerous success stories that range from US Service Academy graduates, Gates Millennium scholarship recipients, military enlistments, and numerous college graduates pursuing other career pathways. Building on our experience, the RedTail Flight Academy charted a new course in September 2021 to connect the underserved talent of color to careers in aviation and aerospace as a response to the industry’s lack of diversity, equity, and inclusion.