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Efforts to Recruit African-Americans into Aviation | News

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Efforts to Recruit African-Americans into Aviation

LAS VEGAS -- There is a shortage of African-American pilots and aviation engineers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The International Black Aerospace Council is hoping to change that by introducing more ethnic kids to aviation.

The council brought together more than 1,000 pilots and other workers in aviation-related fields for a convention in Las Vegas that started Tuesday. 

According to the council, only three percent of the people who design planes or fly them are African-American.

Thirteen-year-old Nicholas Franklin is hoping to design planes when he is an adult. He has earned several ribbons in his aviation class.

"I have models of planes hanging down from my ceiling," he said. "I'm into designing them, making the shapes, making the aerodynamics. It's just something that catches my eye. I just like the way planes look."

According to Tony Marshall with the Organization of Black Aerospace professionals, the reason for the lack of minorities in the aviation industry, is the lack of role models.

"What they're seeing in the media is rapping, basketball, and playing sports as their outlet."

At the aeronautics convention, Marshall is hoping to get more African-American kids, like Nicholas, excited about being a pilot or engineer.

"We're doing robotics. We got flight simulators where they can practice on that," he said. "We got the universities here to talk to them."

Nicholas Franklin got a chance to meet one of the few remaining Tuskegee Airmen.

"It was such a great thing," Franklin said.

A few major airlines were also present at the convention to talk with kids about the aviation industry and maybe even recruit some future employees.