One of the things that I enjoy the most about aviation is the potential to pay it forward. In this industry, it is impossible to be successful on your own. Aviation is a family. Mentorship and capitalizing on opportunities and resources that are available to us is imperative to reaching our goals. None of it is possible without networking, building a strong support group and climbing the ladder step-by-step. After you’ve begun to establish yourself, it is important to reach back and help the next generation of aviators. If we all do this, then we will continue to break the barriers that stand in the way of success for aspiring aviators. Below is information and some videos of organizations that give back to the community in impactful ways.
Wings of Hope
Wings of Hope is a humanitarian aviation organization that gives back in many ways through their various programs: SOAR into STEM, Medical Relief & Air Transport, and the Global programs. (Click the hyperlinks to learn more)
SOAR into STEM, launched in partnership with Boeing, welcomes middle and high school students into the Wings of Hope hangar for a dynamic hands-on learning experience that explores principals of flight, aircraft maintenance, aerodynamics engineering, aerospace and Unmanned Aerial Systems. The students will also be paired with a mentor and get to meet and listen to many guest speakers throughout the four-week learning experience. There are also opportunities to seek internships with Wings of Hope and Boeing at the completion of the program.
The MAT program and Global programs are also great ways to get involved long-term in the organization. If your passion is aviation and helping others, come help Wings of Hope change and save lives through the power of aviation!
The Brock Foundation, Inc.
The Brock Foundation, Inc.: Omar Brock started the foundation to promote initiatives that serve inner-city minority children to discover careers and paths in aviation. The vision of the Brock Foundation, Inc., is “to provide personal development classes, free ground-school education and career preparation for youth who desire career paths in aviation. They also offer guidance through a variety of mentors who are professionals in the aerospace industry that will enable children the ability to identify with career paths in aviation in any capacity because they have mentors who look like them.” The organization partners with other like-minded organizations and individuals to provide events throughout the country. To learn more on how you can enroll in the program or how you can help by getting involved, visit thebrockfoundationinc.com and reach out to Omar via email at email@example.com or Instagram @thebrockfoundation_inc.
Fly For the Culture
At Fly for the Culture, Courtland Savage is a strong believer that inclusion is an essential component of our future aviation industry. He provides introductory flights, flight-training scholarships, public outreach and an e-magazine to promote careers for tomorrow’s aviation professionals. Through the continued development of outreach programs, initiatives and the establishment of key partnerships, Fly For The Culture strives to make the world of aviation accessible and affordable to all pilots – regardless of race or ethnicity – and to make a positive impact on the aviation community. For more information on how to become involved with Fly For The Culture contact Courtland at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit the website flyfortheculture.org.
Civil Air Patrol
Whether you are an aspiring or established pilot, Civil Air Patrol is an amazing organization and a great way to get involved. Civil Air Patrol’s cadet program “transforms youth into dynamic Americans and aerospace leaders through a curriculum that focuses on leadership, aerospace, fitness and character. As cadets participate in these four elements, they advance through a series of achievements, earning honors and increased responsibilities along the way. Many of the nation’s astronauts, pilots, engineers and scientists first explored their careers through CAP.” The Cadet Wings program can help aspiring aviators earn their glider rating and private pilot’s certificate. As a student, you can take advantage of these programs while giving back to your community and country. Likewise, if you are an established pilot, you can volunteer your time by instructing the next generation of leaders both in the air and on the ground. To learn more about the Cadet Wings program click here. Parents, if your child is interested in aviation, Civil Air Patrol is a great place to get them started! Here is a parent’s guide and your local CAP can give you more information if you schedule a visit!
The Young Eagles is an organization that offers introductory flights to children between the ages of 8 and 17. They also provide internships, scholarships, careers, summer camps and other educational opportunities. It is a great organization to get involved with, no matter which step of your aviation journey you are on. As an aspiring pilot, there are tons of resources and opportunities to advance. As an established pilot, there are countless opportunities for you to give back and help the next generation. Find your local chapter here. Also, take advantage of free educational resources for aspiring pilots and educators here at EAA’s Aero Educate.
Commemorative Air Force
The Commemorative Air Force honors the heroes of yesterday while educating and inspiring the heroes of tomorrow through preserving – in flying condition – a complete collection of combat aircraft which were flown by all military services of the United States, as well as selected aircraft of other nations, for the education and enjoyment of present and future generations of Americans. Be a part of preserving and possibly flying these amazing pieces of American history! There are also great educational resources and hands-on learning experiences for pre-K – 12 students, college students, and aviation enthusiasts of all age! Find your local CAF unit here.
The Young Eagles, Civil Air Patrol and Commemorative Air Force have chapters nationwide. However, some of the others discussed above are limited to certain regions of the United States. If you don’t live locally to these organizations, there are other national organizations to join where you can find great mentorship and/or make an impact on today’s youth. A lot of these organizations offer annual aviation outreach-events such as Girls in Aviation Day, Pancake Fly-ins, scholarships and other wonderful opportunities for community involvement. Some examples are listed below.