BROOKLYN — The city’s first ever youth aviation summer camp received some major funding Tuesday.
United Youth Aviators, run by the non-profit 'The Young Airmans Association', was presented with a check of $20,000 from Brooklyn borough president Eric Adams and NYC Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel.
“We always tell our young people to 'reach for the stars’ that ‘the sky is the limit’, they are literally in the sky,”said Ampry-Samuel.
Youth Aviators was created by Winston Faison, Milton Davis Sr. and Cletodell Titus. They are three members of the NYPD 81st Precinct who volunteer their time and started the program with money out of their own pockets.
Their summer camp doesn’t just expose inner city kids to flying, some for the first time, but it actually teach them how to do it.
“I have the honor and privilege to be a certified flight instructor and actually watch these children progress. I see them going from not understanding the checklist. To understanding the checklist. Knowing where to turn on certain things. We even have some of them landing the plane. It is amazing," said Officer Titus.
Titus grew up in Brooklyn, and always wanted to learn how to fly. After joining the NYPD, he did just that. Titus, Davis, and Faison are among the few African American professional pilots. 92% of America's professional pilots and flight engineers are caucasian and 91 percent are male.
The youth aviators program not only gives inner city kids not only gives inner city kids the change to fly and earn a pilots license at an early age, but it also helps diversify the sky. The program, in it's first years and has nine participants. Seven of whom are male, and two are female.
When 17 year old Jerome O'Brien, a Young Aviator, was asked Whether he could have ever imagined learning how to fly at 17, he said "No it’s not very common." O'Brien added, "It still boggles my head that we are flying these planes. Some of these kids are 12 and 13.”
The United Youth Aviators program is in its first year. The program is six weeks long and by the end of it each kid will have a log 12 hours of flight time. They only need 40 hours to get their pilots license. According to Deputy Inspector Faison, the goal for each young aviator is that they leave the program with that license.AlertMe