OLIVE BRANCH, MS (WMC) - A new flight academy is open in Olive Branch that will honor Memphis pioneer, Luke Weathers.
Weathers was the first African-American air traffic controller for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) at Memphis International Airport.
The flight academy, headed by The Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP), introduces plans to train future generations of minority Aviators. OBAP is dedicated to encouraging minorities by advancing them in all aviation and aerospace careers.
"You actually get a chance to go up in an airplane and fly, and I fell in love, take off, landing, everything," said University of Memphis rising sophomore Daniel Flint. He's the first student to complete the Lt. Col. Luke Weathers Jr. Flight Academy.
OBAP cut the ribbon at the Academy's grand opening Wednesday. The grand opening was held at the Olive Branch Airport on Jack Cross Road at the North Hanger in Olive Branch.
Lt. Col. Luke Weathers Jr. broke barriers to diversify the industry--barriers that opened doors for FedEx pilot and academy director Captain Albert Glenn.
"Memphis is a great city but a lot of times we don't say it out loud but we work in silos," Glenn said.
The flight academy is shattering those silos through work with community-based partners including Shelby County Schools, Air Venture Flight Center, and Tuskegee Airmen.
After 44 years at FedEx, Glenn said it's about elevating the next generation by offering competitive training, localized support, and need-based grants and scholarships.
"I found that God had a plan for me to do it a different way, to go fly first and then give back," Glenn said.
The Lt. Col. Luke Weathers Jr. Flight Academy (LWFA) will offer Far 141 and 61 Flight Training, JET Transition Training, a Maintenance and Air Traffic Control Academy, UAV Pilot Training, Air Force Candidate Flight Training, and a Military Rotor Fixed Wing Transition program.
LWFA plans to train more than 225 Memphis area high school students to become certified flight instructors or secure Private and Instrument Ratings by 2025.
For more information about OBAP and LWFA visit www.obap.org