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Mike Ojo’s New Flight School: A Historic Moment for Gwinnett County

April 26, 2024



In a groundbreaking move for aviation diversity, Gwinnett County is set to host its first Black-owned flight school, Look Up Flight Academy, marking a significant milestone amidst the nationwide campaign to foster greater representation among minority pilots.

Mike Ojo, the visionary behind the endeavor, reflects on his journey to this momentous occasion, recalling his initial apprehensions about entering the world of aviation due to the lack of representation. “I always thought it wasn’t for me because I never saw anyone who looked like me in a pilot uniform,” Ojo shared candidly.

Fast forward a decade, Ojo has not only defied the odds but has emerged as a beacon of inspiration for aspiring aviators, now assuming the role of the owner of Gwinnett County’s inaugural Black-owned flight school.

Following the recent approval of a 25-year lease by commissioners, Look Up Flight Academy is set to take flight at the Gwinnett County airport, with Ojo emphasizing the school’s commitment to recruiting minorities, despite the financial challenges many face in pursuing flight training. “We have thousands of people on a list who can’t afford flight training,” Ojo lamented.

Highlighting the broader significance of diversifying the aviation industry, retired Naval pilot Willie Billingslea, affiliated with the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, underscored the pressing need for more people of color in the field amidst an industry-wide labor shortage. “The airlines are hurting right now. Not just with minorities, but just in pilots in general,” Billingslea remarked.

In recognition of the systemic barriers hindering minority participation in aviation, Georgia Rep. Hank Johnson has long championed legislative efforts to address this issue. Johnson’s proposed Minorities in Aviation Act, currently pending in Congress, aims to establish a grant program to alleviate the financial burden of aviation education. “This grant program will help offset the cost for those looking to get the training so that they can enter the field,” Johnson explained.

Expressing his enthusiasm for the forthcoming venture, Ojo shared his unwavering passion for flying and his eagerness to share it with others. “Once you get in and start flying, you’re hooked,” Ojo enthused.

With a successful location already established in North Carolina, Look Up Flight Academy’s expansion into Gwinnett County signifies a significant step towards fostering inclusivity and accessibility within the aviation community. Anticipated to open its doors by summer, the academy is poised to cultivate a new generation of diverse aviators, thereby reshaping the landscape of aviation for years to come.




Credit: WSB-TV

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