Thursday, May 23, 2024

Leona Serao Plans to Be the First Black Woman to Fly Solo Around the World

Leona Serao, a 23-year-old commercial pilot, is gearing up for an extraordinary journey this summer. Born in the United States but raised in the Democratic Republic of Congo, she aims to make history by embarking on a three-month solo flight around the world. Departing from New York City, her ambitious itinerary spans 33 countries across four continents.

Against All Odds

In an industry dominated by men, Serao is determined to shatter barriers and pave the way for change. With only 5% of commercial pilots being women and a mere 0.09% being Black women, she recognizes the significance of her mission to inspire and diversify the aviation field.

Following in her father’s footsteps, she decided to pursue a career in aviation after his passing. Although she initially wasn’t certain about flying, her time at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University solidified her passion and set her on the path to becoming a pilot.

Photo Credit: Facebook via FlyNona

Representation In The Aviation Industry

Being one of the few Black female pilots holds immense meaning for Serao. She acknowledges the challenges and historical limitations women and the Black community face. In a society where opportunities for women were limited, the aviation industry mirrored this inequality. However, Serao is determined to break through these barriers and create opportunities for others.

The Inspiration

The names of trailblazers such as Bessie Coleman, the first licensed Black female pilot in 1921, and Barrington Irving, the first Black pilot to fly around the world solo in 2007, serve as a constant source of motivation for Serao. Their accomplishments reinforce her belief in her capabilities and fuel her drive to succeed.

Photo Credit: Facebook via FlyNona

Leona Serao’s upcoming solo flight around the world represents more than a personal milestone. It symbolizes a powerful step towards inclusivity and diversity in the aviation industry. Through her journey, she aspires to inspire young women and aspiring pilots, particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds. By challenging the status quo and daring to dream big, Serao is rewriting the narrative of what is possible in the world of aviation.


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