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Delta inspires future aviators, promotes diversity through DREAM flight and 'Girls Rock Wings' events

Now in its 22nd year, Delta’s Dream Flight – a special charter flight that transports Black students to an aviation-themed destination – remains a testament to the airline's commitment to exposing students from underrepresented groups to the world of aviation.

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Photos courtesy of Delta Capt. Clevin Weekes.

Delta continued its steadfast commitment to inspiring the next generation of aviators through the airline’s annual Dream Flight and its support of Sisters of the Skies’ Girls Rock Wings event this fall. Delta's engagement underscores its dedication to developing a more diverse and inclusive future for the aviation industry.

Sisters of the Skies GRoW Event: Elevating aspirations in Atlanta

Did you know that there are fewer than 200 Black women pilots who fly for commercial airlines and the military – combined?

With an acute need for hiring and a robust diversity, equity and inclusion strategy that calls for driving a diverse talent pipeline, Delta proudly sponsored the Girls Rock Wings event in Atlanta in late October, organized by Sisters of the Skies. GRoW is an annual aviation and STEM outreach program designed to expose young women of color, ages 10-18, to the field of aviation.

Delta First Officer Monique Grayson, an active member of Sisters of the Skies, spearheaded the event's planning – noting that "this initiative is crucial for instilling a passion for aviation in young girls of color." Many other Delta employees share the same sentiment, as 12 Delta pilots and five employees from different divisions volunteered their time.

The event, hosted at Fulton County Airport, featured a comprehensive program for 70 girls who had the opportunity to engage in a Discovery Flight, explore an air traffic control tower, experience a flight walk-around, and capture the moment with a "See it to Be it" photo booth.

Delta's Director of Pilot Development, Eric Hendrick, kicked off the day's festivities, emphasizing the importance of diversity in the aviation industry and our dedication to supporting long-term collaborations with partners like SOS.

"This marks Delta's second year partnering with Sisters of the Skies, and we are proud to support this effort that inspires more young Black women to pursue aviation careers,” said Hendrick.

In addition to engaging in events like this, Delta has contributed in scholarships to SOS, empowering aspiring pilots to pursue flight training and bridging gaps within the industry.

DREAM Flight 2023: Cultivating dreams in the sky

Now in its 22nd year, Delta’s Dream Flight – a special charter flight that transports Black students to an aviation-themed destination – remains a testament to the airline's commitment to exposing students from underrepresented groups to the world of aviation.

A highlight of this year's Dream Flight was the entirely Black flight crew, along with other diverse volunteers, many of whom have participated in OBAP-led camp experiences and even previous Dream Flights. The two first officers who operated the flight had themselves participated in OBAP programs in the past, reinforcing the idea that dreams of flying can indeed be achieved by anyone who participates. All the volunteers engaged with students throughout the day, sharing their personal journeys within Delta.

Hosted in partnership with the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, this year’s flight took off for the Pensacola Naval Base in Florida on Oct. 24, carrying 140 aspiring young aviators ages 13-18. While in Florida, students were offered a unique, immersive experience with a Blue Angels Practice Show and a tour of the National Naval Museum.

Delta expanded the reach of the 2023 Dream Flight by offering seats to schools and organizations within the Atlanta community, including the Omar Brock Foundation, Elite Scholar Academy and Rex Mill Middle School – ultimately broadening the impact of inspiration in its hometown.

“Serving in this way is truly one of the highlights of my career, because I was once a DREAM flight camper,” said Delta First Officer Curtis Jackson. “I was not only inspired to dream big, but was shown the path necessary to obtain my dream.”

Over their 22-year partnership, Delta and OBAP have given more than 4,000 youth immersive learning opportunities to better understand pathways to aviation careers.

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