By Rosaland Tyler
New Journal and Guide
The Alexandria-Fairfax Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. is offering a free, simulated aviation program that may change the fact that only 2 percent of all pilots are Black.
The Kappas partnered with the Northern Virginia Urban League and now the two organizations offer a ten-week aviation curriculum for coed students in grades 6-12. This program offers classes such as Introduction to Aerodynamics, Review of Aircraft Types, Landing Basics and Introduction to Meteorology. Math, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are stressed in this free course. Please sign up for classes at https://afkapsi.com/aviation-program/.
“A lot of our programs are designed for African-American men or young males, but at our chapter we do programs that are coed,” Kappa Alpha Psi alumni president Dr. Kenneth Taylor said in a recent WUSA-TV interview.
“In the class we incorporate Black history, but also remind them that they are making history as well,” Taylor said. “If I’d been exposed to something like that when I was 10 or 11 years old, maybe I’d be a pilot.”
The Kappas used grants and donations to buy five flight simulators.
Students sit in flight simulators and practice taking off, navigating, and landing- all from their seats in Alexandria.
One of the instructors, Rear Adm. A.J. Johnson, a former pilot, said, “We talk about flight, do the table talk then we go to the flight room, and they actually do what they just learned.”
One of the aviation students, Naomi Hill attends the class twice a month at the Kappa Alpha Psi alumni building in Alexandria. Peering at her computer monitor which shows a runway below, she said, “I’m looking at my altitude. We are learning how to get from one airport to another without being able to see.“
Hill sat in the simulated lab in the Kappa building. She worked the controls, gazed at her flight simulation screen and said with a smile, “It’s another way to see the world.”
Photo by Dmitry Limonov