When you are able to envision a life of infinite possibilities, it allows others to soar to unimaginable heights themselves. Pilot, philanthropist and aviation expert Omar Brock has used this passion to propel his purpose of fostering the next generation of Black pilots forward.

After falling in love with flying later on in life, he has since started a foundation rooted in encouraging minority youth to consider careers in the air. Brock spoke to EBONY about his work diversifying the field of aviation.

EBONY: What sparked the creation of the Brock Foundation?

Omar Brock: In 2020, with the wake of the George Floyd situation and the racial turmoil that I saw across the United States, I was so bothered by our state in the US that I wanted to just simply do an act of kindness throughout the holidays. I initially started off with a generic post online asking all of my followers if they had children that they wanted to introduce to aviation for the next two months, as I would be giving out free flights. All they had to do is bring their child to the airport. We take them up and introduce them to flight. I got such an overwhelming response, and ultimately, that was my nudge from God to move forward with my initial thoughts of starting a nonprofit. From that, we birthed the curriculum, and now we're progressing to actually training them to create the next generation of Black pilots.

Our curriculum is FAA approved, and we pair it with test preps, provided by the FAA. There is typically a cost associated with ground school curriculum towards the certificates and ratings, however, we're giving it to our youth for free. As they progress from the ground school education to the actual plane, we're leveraging our resources and our connections in the public school systems to get them to see the value and invest in tomorrow's aviators.

What are some misconceptions that you've found about the field of aviation and about being a Black pilot?

The biggest misconception is that a career in this field is not attainable for people who look like me. Ultimately, I think minority youth often gravitate toward sports and entertainment. With that being said, it starts with being exposed to a new environment for your interest to rise in that. By us just showing up in uniform and engaging the youth, that gets the wheels to turn for their dreams to materialize and for them to ask the questions. Through that, we can begin to direct them down this career path.

Can you talk about the role that mentorship has had in your journey as well?

Mentorship is a powerful aspect of what we do. Again, even though we start with the encounter of being the representation for young folks, we then have to have a follow-up of guiding them throughout their aviation career. We want to not only teach them the structure and discipline that comes with becoming a pilot, but we also want to teach them the structure and discipline that life requires of them.

What do you hope the future of the foundation will take shape to be?

The future of the foundation looks like opening a Black-owned airport. We want to not only having a place where minority youth can come to be taught and trained by individuals who look like them, but also find a home away from home that is for us by us. They should be able to come and fly and be able to use equipment at no charge to them. I am relentlessly making that pursuit because it is crucial and essential to changing their trajectory in life in general, as well as a pursuit towards becoming an airline pilot.