How can aviation be more inclusive?

Meet Brian. Friendly, thoughtful, and passionate, Brian has always been a people person. From a very young age he knew what he wanted to do with his life; either fly airplanes, or drive a school bus. When opening and closing the school bus doors in elementary school proved less exciting than he expected, Brian set his sights on aviation. His childhood home was tucked right under JFK airport’s arrival route for runway 22 left, and he loved to watch the planes coming in. It was the obvious career choice. 

Brian followed his dream to Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida. While the 4am wakeup calls for morning flights were tough, the hardest part for him was having to forgo the exciting social life of a college student to focus on flight training. But looking back now, with many years under his belt as an airline pilot, Brian is very happy with the choices he made. He loves flying. Not just for the thrill of being the pilot now landing on JFK 22 left, but for how special it is to be a part of so many people’s stories every day. He makes a big effort to talk with passengers after flights and in the airport, and genuinely cares about their lives and travels. 

Alongside his ‘day’ job, Brian is President Elect for the National Gay Pilot’s Association, an organization that dedicates itself to making sure that everyone has a welcome and safe place in the aviation community. With the NGPA, he stands up for gay pilots experiencing homophobia in the workplace, trans pilots struggling to obtain their medical certificate to fly, and anyone in the LGBTQ+ community looking for a place to belong. They run student programs, advocacy programs, scholarship programs and more, all places where Brian gets to help support and uplift people and share in their stories. 

I spoke with Brian a lot about inclusivity, a topic very close to his heart. Gay rights both in the US and worldwide have improved dramatically in the past few decades, and many organizations both within and outside aviation have jumped in to show their support. In fact, Brian optimistically reported that in his opinion aviation as a whole, and especially commercial aviation, is more inclusive than many other fields. But there is a lot of work still to be done to ensure that it can be a truly safe space where anyone can succeed. 

At Coradine we want to be the best we can for all pilots, we want to  truly embrace inclusiveness and diversity. I asked Brian about his opinions on how an aviation company like ours could be more inclusive. Brian explained that it is vital for every company and organization to not only show their dedication to inclusivity publicly, but also to promote it internally so that each of their employees feel safe and respected. On this advice, we’ll be adding a section on embracing inclusivity and diversity to our Coradine employee manual alongside our non-discrimination policy.

Some pilots, like Brian, are blessed with wonderfully supportive parents who are able to help them through flight training and support them in every part of their lives. But there are many other LGBTQ+ students out there looking up at landing patterns and dreaming of flight with no means of achieving it. The NGPA runs yearly scholarships to help these hopeful pilots, and we are so excited to have joined the NGPA as a platinum sponsor to support these aviators! The whole team at Coradine is dedicated to making aviation better, and we feel honored to be able to work with someone as inspiring as Brian and the NGPA.

Want to learn more about the NGPA? Check out their website here.