NEW YORK (PIX11) — Police Officer Jillian Ludvick, who began learning to fly when she was just 13, has soared through barriers to become the NYPD’s first African-American female pilot.  

After years of training and hard work, she now patrols the skies in a helicopter for the department.  

“I always like to help people and seeing my dad (made me) gravitate towards it,” Ludvick told PIX11 News in an exclusive interview.  

Ludvick also had a passion for flying and law enforcement after watching her dad rescue people as an Emergency Service Unit detective in the NYPD. Flying runs in the family, Ludvick’s great-uncle was an aviation pioneer, becoming only the fourth African-American to get a pilot’s license.  

“I am so very happy and proud of her, she made a lot of sacrifices,” Ludvick’s dad said. “I told her don’t worry about what people are saying. If you are good at your job, you will break down barriers slowly.” 

During the pandemic, Ludvick became a police officer working street patrols in the Bronx. 

A few years later she is flying high.  

“Hopefully it inspires other people who have a dream to be a pilot to fly or join the NYPD,” she said.