Making history in the friendly skies!
A 23-year-old Mississippi man just made history as the youngest Black person to be certified as a Boeing 777 pilot, Blavity reports.
Malik Sinegal has been dreaming of becoming a pilot since forever, and not just the pilot of any plane, the pilot of a Boeing 777, the world’s largest twinjet plane. His affinity for the aircraft has been a driving force as he focused on growing his career as a pilot, eventually culminating in a trip that would make his dreams come true.
“The Triple 7 is one of the airplanes that people usually don’t touch until they’re around their forties or fifties or they’ve been at the airlines for a very long time. And I came down with…a scholarship opportunity where I was able to get into the airplane,” Sinegal said.
It wasn’t until after he flew the aircraft that the Biloxi, Mississippi native even realized he accomplished an important milestone, getting a call from a Boeing official afterwards letting him know that he made history.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2019, just 2.6% of America’s aircraft pilots were Black. This is a number Sinegal and many others like him hope to change, including 16-year-old Sydney-Marie Flowers, who opted for her pilot’s license before her driver’s license, and organizations like Sisters of the Skies, a group of Black women pilots creating access and opportunities for other Black women looking to get in the field.
Sinegal hopes his story will also inspire change and has put his action where his word is, using his new certification to lead flight instruction at New Height’s Aviation in Batesville, Mississippi.