“Houston, We Have a Problem.” 

Traveling by hot air balloon, French aviator Maria Élizabeth Thible was the first woman to take to the skies in 1784. It wasn’t until almost two hundred years later that American Airlines Captain Beverley Bass piloted the first all-female crew in the history of commercial aviation.

Today, women represent a mere 8% of commercial pilots, with even a smaller fraction of aviators (5%) stemming from BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) communities.

To put it plainly, aviation has a significant accessibility issue.

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For many who do not fit the typical demographic - straight, white, men of a certain age - becoming a pilot can seem an unattainable career choice. This disconnect of minority representation in aviation careers is the consequence of years of systemic breakdown. Lack of support through the training process, substantial financial and time investment, uninspired recruiting practices, and the simple perception of what a pilot “looks” like, have proven to be significant barriers for many promising and capable candidates. 


In an industry facing severe labor shortages now, and in the foreseeable future, the urgency to address these accessibility gaps is pressing. In North America alone, it is predicted that 230,000 new pilots will be needed by 2029, with a forecast that approximately 20,000 airline pilot jobs will go unfilled. Even more harrowing - the overall dropout rate for student pilots is currently at 80%.

If ever there was a time to fix the breakdowns in the aviation pipeline - it is now. 

The Flex Air Way 

Flex Air is a minority and veteran-led flight school working to address these issues by lowering the barriers to entry across the aviation industry.  

At Flex Air, we are committed to supporting the next generation of aviators and building a more inclusive, diverse, and innovative airspace. We embody this so heavily in our culture that we have given it a name - One Crew. 

We believe that to build inclusion across the aviation space, it will take active participation.

Here are the steps we have taken to make sure our programs are equitable and supportive to a more diverse group of aviators: 

Our Commitment to Culture: 

  • Through our award-winning One Crew programs, we take a holistic approach to student training and mentorship. We provide resume and interview training, career development, and help students navigate the job landscape. We make sure our pilots are prepared for every aspect of their career, even beyond the flight deck. 

  • Every student pilot comes from a unique background, thus our programs are flexible and tailored directly to meet our students where they are at. We partner with career development programs such as DoD Skillbridge to make sure students from all backgrounds are supported at every step of the journey.

  • Flight training should be affordable to everyone who puts in the hard work. Our Pilot Pathway program combines financing with flight training, career coaching, and job placement services for aspiring airline pilots. Our program is the only one of its kind in the aviation industry to offer Income Share Agreements (ISAs), and is supported by a network of hiring airlines, lenders, and financial technology providers. Other flight schools hand students off to a single lender where at best only one in five students receives funding. We take a personalized approach because we see every student as a career-long relationship.

Meet Our “One Crew” 

At Flex Air, we are committed to One Crew and building an aviation industry for all, but we hope you won’t just take our word for it. 

We invite you to meet our One Crew. Hear from their experiences in the Flex Air program and how we prepared them for success in wherever their flight plans have taken them.

Be Part of the Next Generation of Aviators 

If you are inspired by our One Crew culture and you are ready to take to the skies, let’s find a time to connect. Drop us a line here and we will be in touch shortly. We look forward to meeting you. 

As a One Crew community, we firmly believe it is important to lift each other up. We invite you to join us by connecting with and supporting the following organizations working for critical change across the aviation industry: 


Women in Aviation: Women in Aviation International (WAI) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the encouragement and advancement of women in all aviation and aerospace career fields and interests. 

International Society of Women Airline Pilots: The International Society of Women Airline Pilots (ISA+21) is the world’s largest single donor of advanced flight scholarships for women, annually awarding aircraft type-ratings and thousands of dollars in scholarship awards.

The Ninety-Nines: The Ninety-Nines is the International Organization of Women Pilots that promotes advancement of aviation through education, scholarships and mutual support while honoring their unique history and sharing their passion for flight.

Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals: Founded in 1976, the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the encouragement and advancement of minorities in all aviation and aerospace careers.

National Gay Pilots Association: The National Gay Pilots Association (NGPA) is the largest organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender aviation professionals and enthusiasts from around the world.

Aviation Explorers: Aviation Explorers is a hands-on career education program that introduces and supports young people ages 14-21 to aviation careers and flying.



Oliver Wyman, 2022

Greg Reverdieu, Pilot Institute 2022

The Boeing Company, 2021

Environmental Protection Agency, 2021

US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021 McKinsey and Company, 2020

Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, 2016