United Opens Own Flight School, Targets Women, Minorities


United Airlines says it will train 5,000 pilots over the next 10 years at its own Arizona flight academy and half of the graduates will be women and people of color. The airline bought Westwind School of Aeronautics in Phoenix last fall and is turning it into its own private pipeline to fill its cockpits. Many of the candidates will enter the academy with no flight experience and possibly be in the right seat of its single-aisle aircraft in five years.  United says it will continue to hire from its traditional sources, like the military and from charter and cargo airlines, but academy grads will be groomed from Day One to be airline pilots.

CEO Scott Kirby said the training in Phoenix will be “even more focused on safety and preparing people to become commercial airline pilots instead of just pilots of their own airplanes.” But the school will also directly challenge the status quo in pilot demographics by targeting women and minorities for recruitment. Half the instructors will also be female and from minorities. About 7 percent of United’s pilots are female and 13 percent are people of color, stats that have remained stubbornly static despite well-publicized efforts by a handful of advocacy groups to move the needle. United will work with three historically black universities, Delaware State, Elizabeth City State and Hampton University, to recruit candidates. It began accepting applications last Tuesday.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. OK, equality is a good thing.
    WHEN it IS equality. Having a blitz on ethnic minorities can compromise flight safety, by lowering acceptance standards just to fulfil quotas. Did it not enter these peoples minds, that perhaps the disparity is down to personal choice? If that is the case then what must be done is make sure everybody has the same choices! NOT compromise flight safety!

    • I don’t read anything in the article about lowering standards – implying that neither the goal nor a requirement.

      • “half of the graduates will be women and people of color.” If that isn’t compromising standards to fulfil quotas, I don’t know what is!! What they should be ensuring is that proportionate numbers of people across ALL groups has the CHOICE to enter the profession!!

        • In a different article (not on avweb) about this, it said that half of the *students* would be of a minority group, and not half of the *graduates*.

          • United’s stated goal is to achieve “proportional” demographics among its line pilots. Thus, its flight school goals.
            Clearly, if you’re a white male, you will be disproportionately welcome at United’s school. That’s discrimination, plain and simple. Supposedly, such discrimination is unconstitutional. But as Orwell said, “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

          • No Larry, we are not. We are still a 141 flight school and all of our current and future students will have to pass the same FAA approved course(s) and fly with the same DPEs that the other flight schools in the Phoenix Metro area use.

            As a 141 checkairmen at this flight school, I take offense to your alleging that I or my fellow checkairmwn are going to lower our expectations/standards.

          • N S:
            Not every EXISTING pilot is of equal skill and capability, that much should be obvious. How is this possible if every pilot meets the same measures? Rhetorical question.

    • Yea and since I’ve been flying 46 years I clearly remember all the prognosticators saying that women would be crashing all over the place when they started flying for the airlines. But, lo and behold, in some ways they’re better than male pilots. Far less prone to the “testosterone poisoning” crashes that males exclusively seem prone to.

      • … meh, I think you know that’s not what I’m referring to.

        We live in a hyper-litigious society, and one more path to “wealth via playing the lawsuit lottery” has just opened.

        Now go ahead and tell us all this is not fact…..

      • No one here is maligning any woman’s ability to fly. The fact is that women are far less likely to choose a career as a pilot. They are also less likely to choose to be bricklayers, but we don’t hear calls for equity in the construction industry, do we?

        • Nailed it.
          In my past working in flying schools, women (and minorities etc.) had just as much opportunity as anyone else. It was a diverse group at any given time. But there was always far more men than women. Likewise, I know far more men that are interested in aviation than women. Nothing wrong with that.
          Forcing employment stats to match population stats is just virtue signalling.

  2. I see it as a good thing for the CFI community. It will be hard if not impossible for UAL to reach their CFI diversity goal of 50/50 in their first 18 months of operation. You can probably guess the irony of this!

    United would have been out of business if not for the US taxpayer. There is some irony here too if you would like to take another guess! There would be no money to start a fancy flight school if not for the American taxpayer. Let’s hope that UAL isn’t planning on including non-American Asian students as part of their 50/50 diverse student population. The UAL flight school is undoubtedly being funded by American taxpayer bailout dollars. Hopefully the school teaches only diverse American students. I feel sorry for those in the flight school business that will be competing with the government-funded UAL flight school.

    CFI pay should increase with this announcement and that is a good thing, and long overdue.

    The pilot shortage will re-emerge with vengeance in a few years. Other bailed-out airlines will likely get into their own training programs and this is good for those that like to teach.

    God bless.

    • Jeff

      The UAL flight school is not a product of the government bailout, it operates on its own and has for over 20 years without help, turning a profit yearly. It also boasts the highest pay for any flight school in the Phoenix Metro area. This purchase was in “talks” before COVID occurred, before any bailout, and any financial expenditures that the flight school requires is in reality a rounding error to UAL.

      Source, I work here and have for years. Do a little research before opining drivel and falsehoods.

      • NS, thank you for your kind words. Whether your flight school was, is, or will be profitable is not the issue. Where the cash came from to buy the business is the issue. UAL would be out of business (6 months before the school purchase) if not for the US taxpayer bailing them out. Secondly if they were out of business there would have been no reason to buy your flight school last fall. The purchase of your flight school is likely tied to the second bail monies. If what you said is true, UAL would have purchased your flight school even if they didn’t receive US taxpayer bailout money. I am quite sure not too many folks would agree with that concept.

        I don’t have any problem with the diversity goals UAL has for your flight school as long as those students being taught at US citizens. If UAL is giving free PPL’s at your school, the money better be coming from profits, not subsidy from UAL and the US taxpayer. Secondly, using taxpayer bailout money to teach non US citizens to fly is unacceptable.

        • Jeff

          They (any student) will still have to take a checkride, providing the same legal forms of identification as has been in practice for years. We are still under the purview of the FAA and the local FSDO.

          Look back to the original announcement of this acquisition dating to Feb 2020, prior to ANY of the COVID fallout or subsequent government funding.

          Our purchase prices was likely less then what UAL pays for fuel for a day of flights.

          • N S: His point was that business that go out of business rarely follow through on new acquisitions.

          • NS, Thank you again for your insight. I am not the least bit concerned with UAL’s policy of inclusion. I don’t think an inclusion policy will lower standards (may actually increase standards).

            6 years ago, in advance of the pilot shortage, I tried to put together a 501C3 flight school. Raise money to help those that wanted to learn to fly, but were not able because of poverty, color, gender, or whatever label you want to put on it. My intention was to raise money from airlines, individuals, and foundations in order to provide totally free flight training to professional applicants. They in turn would instruct (for pay) for two years following their training. The hope was that they would give back once they were in the big bucks, but payback would not be mandatory. Such a program needs to start with STEM in high schools.

            UAL bought your school with taxpayer bail-out money. No bail-out money, no more UAL, no flight school purchase. Because it is taxpayer money many of us have multiple concerns. One such concern, will the money be used to train non-citizens of the United States? How many non-US citizens are enrolled in your flight school?

  3. As I age, everything – as you would expect – reminds me of a story:

    Medical school was a long, long time ago, but I remember one surgeon particularly well: M. A. He was a black transplant surgeon from an Historically Black College and medical school. This was the beginning of official Affirmative Action, and we were all delighted to have him on staff, for reasons not the least of which was the thought that it marked us as a particularly enlightened and forward-looking school.

    The problem was that Dr. A., working in a specialty that required a thoroughgoing knowledge of acid-base chemistry, didn’t know any. In the two years that I and my classmates interacted with the Good Doctor, none of us could recall a single transplanted kidney that ever “took.” The nascent transplant network was yet to provide the supply of donor kidneys that we take for granted today; dozens of hard-to-get organs were wasted, lives lost.

    One of the most memorable issues, though, was patient attitude. Patients were of course not verbally restricted as were we, and I cannot recall the number of them that, well aware of the relaxed academic standards of Affirmative Action, asked Dr. A point-blank, “Are you a good doctor or one of those affirmative-action doctors?”

    He always answered the former; we, his students, always answered in the backs of our minds the latter. From now on, when I am forced to “Fly United” into a Cleveland snowstorm to visit my family, you can believe that on approach that same question will be going through my mind once again.

  4. Who pays for all that training, United or the student? That would be a perfect indicator of any alleged pilot “shortage”.

    • I think the business model is the more interesting story that doesn’t get discussed. What kind of work contracts will candidates have to accept, which they may later regret? Does the diversity target guarantee government aid? They may not sacrifice training standards, but I don’t think they are going into this without having thoroughly planned the financial end of it.

      • There are no work contracts, just the opposite. If you fail to meet standards you are no longer in the program. Our new course syllabus has not changed standards, we are still a 141 flight school with local FSDO oversight using the same DPEs as the rest of the Phoenix Metro area.

        All financial responsibilities lie with the students. It was recently announced that loans would be available through Sallie Mae for those that qualify, exactly like how many of us paid for our flight training.

    • The private pilot license is paid for by UAL, any and all other ratings the students will be responsible for.

  5. It’s going to be a tough project for United recruiters to achieve proper balance. Black Americans only make up about 14% of the total “people of color” US population category. Asians and Latins, a much higher percentage. So recruiting the correct percentage from each category, and finding within the categories those that have a “I wanta be a pilot” desire, good luck. Females are over 50% of our total population. At least the recruiters will only have to look at one group for that recruiting effort. When I was with FAA as an Academy instructor years ago, because of a much higher failure rate for some categories (although they arrived excited, they were much less prepared, and you can only drag training out so long), the administration adjusted the way graded problems were scored down until proper population category percentage balance was better achieved.

    • For us, we couldn’t extend the program time (I believe it was 16 weeks) to accommodate individuals. So we just reduced the level of achievement needed. The course required a composite average score from both academics and labs’ simulated traffic problems of 70%. 70% or more and the student was off to a real word ATC facility where they would have to prove their abilities. Less than 70% and the student was terminated, out the door. To better achieve the desired diversity of graduates, we just let the students drop a certain number of their lowest grades, which then gave a better opportunity to reach the needed end of course 70%. The dropping of grades had to be adjusted a few times until the administration saw the desired results.

    • As long as I’m running my mouth about FAA and my time helping achieve diversity in the ATC ranks as an FAA Academy instructor, I’ll add this. Pilot certification and ATC controller certification are actually quite similar as it is accomplished. The FAA ATC Academy 16 weeks could be considered for ATC candidates what would be the ground school and the simulator time for a student pilot. Pass that and then you were off to a real world ATC facility, and you would get training with real aircraft with an instructor guiding you. Think of that a pilot off to the flight academy for dual in an aircraft with a CFI. In both cases the candidate must achieve minimum standards, get recommended by their CFI or ATC instructor and then take a real time check ride. However, for us at the Academy, by adjusting the qualifying standards down a bit, we did immediately see a big improvement in the diversity of the candidates we then sent out the door to a facility. Hey, this also got a few more white males of and running also. We, the Academy then got praise from the higher ups for our accomplishment. Another however, however. The field facilities now got with the shipment of new controller trainees, a few who had not displayed quite the aptitude as we previously screened for. So now the journeyman controller, the facility, and staff were saddled with the extra effort to get them trained up to required standards for the real world activities. And for the trainees that could not achieve that requirement, it was frequently an administrative mess with grievances, EEO complaints, etc. But…and I’m ashamed….at the Academy, “sorry, they’re not our problem now. We’re busy getting heaped with praise for our diversity efforts”. That was years ago.

      • But there *was* a “diversity and inclusion program” over 40 years ago at Ok City — back in the days when Mac Arthur Blvd. looked like a dust bowl. it was called the “Pre-Developmental Controller Program.” Or, “Pre-Dee” for short. Everything centered around getting students to pass “Level 7” — non-radar control. 🤯

  6. Putting diversity first is never a good idea. Putting standards first, is. The FAA better keep an eye on this one.

    • They’ll meet FAA standards. As did the FO of the Prime 767 that flew into the water in Texas a while back. Equal standards, unequal pilots.

  7. I have been flying for forty years in which twenty-five of those years as a professional pilot/airline pilot. Like many other professional pilots I have worked on aircraft as a aircraft mechanic and participated in accident investigations. Many of the current FAR’s and procedures are a direct result of an airline accident! I have always told people you’re only as good as your last flight. Every flight is a checkride. If you have an accident, you failed that checkride. I never attempt to judge someone until I have known or flown with them for awhile. When you point fingers, four of them point right back at you.

    • Jimmie,

      So, ask yourself this question: Who is a better airline pilot, a person that was hired because of their color or a person that was hired because of their safety and skills? And I think you’ll be able to judge who you would like to fly with.

      I really don’t care what the color of your skin is, or what your gender is, I just want the best and the safest pilot out there, and CLEARLY that SHOULD be the criteria.


      • Except they/we haven’t lowered standards. To even be eligible to start private pilot training the candidate must pass several aptitude tests, interviews, and score highly on the PAR.

        Our course syllabus is STILL an approved 141 and they STILL will have to pass checkrides administered by DPEs. We have no “in house” examiners, we utilize those available from around the Phoenix Metro area. Calm down people.

  8. Blacks make up 13% of the population, so does that mean that 13% of the pilots are going to be black or black women? What about Asian males and women what about Hispanic males and women?

    • “Bingo”…or how about American Indians? What about transgender? Won’t the minority pilots get pissed at having to show ID before entering a restricted area? Come on man! This is just about United wanting to look politically correct and woke.
      If this country really wants to fly united, we better drop identity politics and discrimination, pull up our pants and get back to a merit based society.

  9. I believe any company in any industry should hire qualified people that are represented in any demographic. If there are 7% women represented in the professional pilot work work force, United or any airline should have about 7% women on their payroll. Same with any other demographic. Problem with aviation is the the vast majority that choose the career as a professional pilot are white males. For United to have 50% minority pilots in their flight school that actually succeed will be just about impossible.

    United has been trying to hire women and minorities for almost 30 years continuously because of numerous law suites over the years to satisfy those judgments. They even lowered their minimum flight time required to 250 hours at one point. They have basically hired every minority and women that has a commercial license since 1987. Many are there as SIC’s, First Officers, forever, they will never qualify as Captains. I have personally witnessed this issue with unqualified FO’s while riding on United’s jumpseats over the years. Bottom line is major airlines should have the same percentage of minority and women pilots that are represented in the qualified professional pilot pool.

  10. So we are back to the age old quota hire system. How EXACTLY does that help safety when the persons conducting the value-judgement based tests knows the issue is race and gender, not safety? Most pilots are male and white, that is not because of the lack of opportunity for people of color and women in getting their Certificates for operating aircraft carrying passengers.

  11. Nurses and school teachers overwhelmingly are female.
    When I see schools of nursing and colleges of education declaring that such is a problem, and then decreeing that from now on, 50% of their enrollment will be comprised of males, I’ll start to take this politics of demography more seriously.
    In the meanwhile, my motto is: “Competency – accept no substitute.”

  12. Wow… any change in “the way things are” sure gets a lot of you up in arms! Do any of you REALLY think that American is going to put unqualified pilots in the the cockpits of their planes? All it will take is a couple of accidents on these students’ flights to cause a deep dive into their procedures for qualifying them, and if they’re found to be anything less than 100% FAA-compliant, the negative PR will be enormous. Are the executives at American that dumb?

    I applaud American, and any other company or organization, who is doing something to address the discrimination issues that have prevailed in this country since its inception. And in case you’re wondering, I’m an old white guy.

    • Do you really think that discrimination is the reason that the population of pilots – or of teachers, or of nurses – does not track the demographics of our society? Is discrimination the reason that 50% of mid-wives are not male?

      Martin Luther King must be rolling in his grave.

  13. As soon as I opened my Avweb Flash email and saw the headliner teaser, I thought, “Oh boy … here we go.” As I pulled the article down and saw 23 comments already, I wasn’t surprised.

    As several people have correctly opined, blacks are ~13-14% if the US population. If that same percentage is a United pilot, they have already achieved racial balance. In any large group of people representing the societal masses, that’s exactly what you’d expect to see. United is a large group of pilots. So if United is making it easier for blacks to obtain training and subsequent employment, they’re doing it at the expense of ‘somebody.’ I served in the military for a career. As I always said, whatever you see happening on the outside of the fence, it’ll be going on inside the fence.

    With respect to females, they’re more than 50% of the population and yet — since the beginning of aviation — have only been ~7% of pilots in total. There’s an obvious reason for this. If United is trying to make them 50%, I don’t care what “N S” says, they’re forcing disinterested people into a job they don’t want to put forth the effort to get on their own. That’s bad juju.

    What peeps ME off is … where is the effort to garner blind pilots? Since we’re all hearing here that single pilot cockpits and no pilot cockpits are coming, there’d surely be a way to accommodate them. This is unfair and racist to blind pilots! Even the 1040 tax form gives preference to blind taxpayers … why shouldn’t United?

    Frankly, I’m sick and tired of all this “woke” bravo sierra. My forebears came here from Europe, worked their buttski’s off and I am the resultant. I did quite well for myself without any form of Government or Corporate charity. Get offa you butt’s people … MAKE it happen, don’t rely on charity or forcing of numbers … which is all this is. We’re raising a generation of people who thinks we OWE them something.

    Now then, I have to go … I’m playing on the girls football team this afternoon because today I ID as a female. I tried to join the 99’s but they won’t let males in. They’re prejudice, I guess. SAY … if a male ID’s as a female … does United “grease the skids” for them? See the problem.

  14. With respect to the historical ethnic breakdown at UAL as quoted, is there an obvious reason for it or was it purely systemic racism? I think the former.
    As for government help, I think I remember when UAL went bankrupt way before the Chinese Wuhan Virus problem, and got plenty of government help on that one.
    With respect to NS comments, I suggest a review and analysis after a year or so of the flight school to see if there are “adjustments” by “management” to meet the stated goals.

  15. I agree with NS who appears to have on the ground experience with this training for future pilots. Standards do not have to be lowered and outreach to students, who otherwise would not have considered an aviation career, are worthy pursuits. Graduation and check rides should insure competence to standards.

    However meeting standards and admitting the very best are two different things.

    If you have 1000 applicants for 100 positions and 300 meet the standards but 100 far exceed the standards who are you going to choose and what will be your criteria for acceptance? This is the elite college dilemma.

    I suspect (given pay and working conditions for beginning ATPs) that retention will be a bigger problem regardless of gender or color.

  16. I am super worried that as a member of the least oppressed demographic group (white male) I will be disproportionately discriminated against by this sort of action… not.

  17. “Disparity is not always discrimination, in the same way that everybody knows that correlation is not causation”. Words from Mercy Muraki, a senior researcher at the Centre for Social Justice (UK), when discussing the government report into racial discrimination, which found no case for institutionalised rascism in the UK. She was a member of the commission which produced the report. I quote this because these days, people often conflate equality of opportunity with equality of outcome. Muraki is black, incase anyone thinks that is relevant.

  18. I was not able to read all the comments but I suspect the discussion has been intelligent and heated.

    I’ll only add that my medical school had an affirmative action program that failed.

    10% of the seats were held for minorities, and back then in NJ that was black/African American people.

    They DID have lower standards. Different tests, work hours, passing grades, special tutors etc.

    Even so , and I don’t remember the dropout rate, but it was close to 100%.

    A few people did graduate, BUT they were highly intelligent and motivated and would have graduated without the handouts, and with more distinction in the regular non-race based system.

    ALSO, for every dropout, someone who otherwise would have been qualified for admission was denied, and NJ was denied another physician to serve the community.

    A travesty on all fronts.

  19. When piloting an airliner for United it now seems it is more important on how your look or your gender rather than your ability to competently fly the aircraft. All airlines are adamant about safety if that is true one would think United would strive to place the the most competent people in their cockpits regardless of how one looks or their gender.

  20. Yet ANOTHER example of “virtue signaling.” According to the quote, the applies to “women and people of color”. Last time I looked at a U.S. Census form, Hispanics were considered “white”. How about Asians? American Indians?

    Add United to companies I won’t do business with–that is ANY business that discriminates–including so-called “virtue signaling”. What’s NEXT–quotas for Christians, Jews, Rastafarians, Bloods, Crips, Coptics, Satanists, and Agnostics?

    This is an aviation forum–does anybody recall the book “Catch-22”? (the book, not the awful movie). In it, somebody on the military base decided that everyone should recite a ‘loyalty oath’ before every military action. Soon, people were standing in formation, reciting the oath–in line for the mess hall–before driving a vehicle–it wasn’t long until NOTHING was getting done. It all came to a halt, when a rather large office of American Indian descent demanded “Gimmee Eat” at the mess hall–and they “gave him eat.” The entire Ponzi scheme fell apart once a single person stood up to it.

    Here’s a suggestion for United–remove any photos from employment applications, and base hiring decisions on content and accomplishments alone. They could even do initial screenings by telephone–removing any chance of a discrimination charge.

    If United thinks this is going to give them a competitive edge when it comes to attracting passengers, I believe it will have just the opposite effect. I don’t want ANY quota fillers as crew on an airplane where I am a passenger–JUST THE MOST QUALIFIED APPLICANTS.

  21. Equal opportunity to try to obtain schooling is great! Equal OUTCOME is horrible. If standards are adjusted due to race that is a problem. Why aren’t there more men who want to be homemakers? I don’t know and don’t care. Nor do you hear a hue and cry that we need more male homemakers. Lets make sure the PATH to a career is open, but forcing the issue with regard to gender or is foolish…….and deadly!

  22. Though this discussion is about race and gender based “quotas” for PILOTS, why not for MECHANICS, DISPATCHERS, FUELERS, AVIONICS EQUIPMENT, or AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS?

    Does anybody think this is a GOOD idea? Me either.

  23. This problem runs deeper than United’s attempt to solve a complex issue with a simple solution. When I worked at United, there was an order of priority. NUMBER 1! SAFETY! Number 2. Comfort of passengers. Number 3 – Schedule. Looks like the order has been rearranged. NUMBER1! APPEARANCES! Number 2 and 3, the same. Number 4. Safety. You see, United has not done the FIRST thing to understand the numbers of women and “people of color.” That would be to take an UNBIASED look at WHY the numbers are what they are. Quite frankly, the numbers are what they are because of multiple interacting factors, WHICH HERDING PEOPLE WHO ARE OF THE RIGHT GENDER AND SKIN COLOR INTO A FLIGHT PROGRAM WILL NOT CHANGE. The first, and a simple issue, is that absolutely for women, and very likely for “people of color,” the required level of interest and ability, to achieve the required level of performance, demonstrated by previous generations of airline pilots is more difficult to find in these populations. In the case of women, some of this is genetic; women, in general, do not show the same ability to understand and react to spatial relationships as do men. Men are visual animals, women are more sensitive to sounds and smells. Of course, there are exceptions, and there are good women pilots, but in smaller percentages than an equal number of men. In the case of both women and “people of color,” skills required to operate a large complex mechanical system is much less likely to have begun development from the age of 3, 4, or 5. Middle class Western, mostly Caucasian, male children are much more likely to be given the toys and tools to develop the spatial orientation and hand-eye coordination skills which result in a competent pilot later in life, than other cohorts. Minority children are less likely to have had these tools and toys to develop the required skills at an early age. Look at the accident rates of “third world airlines.” Yes, everyone should have a chance to prove themselves. However, the perceptions that United would like to create, may be the opposite of those intended. More passengers may choose to fly on airlines where pilots are hired and retained on their merits. And if United’s accident/incident rate starts going up, looking like a “third world airline,” passengers will avoid United like the plague.

    • Spectacular point, PA.

      As a kid, I played with chemistry sets, erector sets, electricity sets and the like. At age 5, I learned how to read road maps and was my Father’s ‘navigator’ on long distance vacations. My first hobby was amateur “ham” radio. We were poor so I scoured the ‘hood’ looking for old discarded TV sets to rob parts out of so I could build my own equipment. I went into the USAF and aced all the tests for admission so was put into the most technical of occupations. And THEN I decided to learn how to fly and excelled at it. Conversely, my wife — who is a wonderful woman — didn’t grow up that way but thinks she could fly an airplane. Problem is, she did none of those things and could electrocute herself changing batteries in a flashlight. She could get lost inside a paper bag with four GPS’ and a compass. She has a hard time running a remote for the TV. After 40 years of flying with me, sometimes I’ll ask her what direction we’re going or which way back to the airport if I conk out. She takes no interest in any of it. See the problem here. THAT is why only ~7% of pilots are female. Let’s cut the crap here … if they’re good looking and vivacious to boot … doors WILL open for them and qualifications become item #2.

      I’m with Jim Hanson … I’m adding United Airlines to the list of Companies I will no longer do business with. If they wanna be WOKE, that’s their business. I’m not interested.

  24. So, am I reading that there appears to be a problem from the majority of white males here concerning the viability of women and minorities being targeted for flying positions that will be trained, educated and signed-off by a majority of white males?

    • I’ll try to be thoughtful than you and summarize what the other commenters said, along with some research on this.

      The legitimate concerns are:

      1) affirmative action creates advantages for some groups, and disadvantages for other groups – it’s unAmerican. It creates the question of whether somebody is there based on ability or some other reason.

      2) HBCUs do have a reputation for lower admission standards than other colleges. We’ll see if that matters for pilots or not, but I doubt it. (In the US, there’s 2 parallel college systems, historically black and predominately white.)

      3) DPEs are not FAA staff, and can be pressured by large schools to “get with the program or we’ll get somebody else.”

      4) Learning to fly is now very expensive, so we’ll see if encouraging young people to fly is helping or hurting them in the long-term. One of the differences betwen HBCU and other colleges is money (less endowments), and we all know airplanes fly on money.

      We’ll see what happens in a few years I guess, but there are definitely some general issues, and some specific to aviation training.

      As a couple of other commenters mentioned, the medical community has grappled for decades with the shortcomings of affirmative action. Some medical schools have had to offer delayed graduation to catch up 30% of minority residents for example, meaning those students did not have the same ability as others, but with a reasonable accommodation still graduated. Learning to fly is easier than medical school, so it will likely be less of an issue as long as the DPE maintains standards.

  25. “targets”…”targeting”…both words imply a form of segregation. In this case, United is concentrating on segregating it’s efforts to conform to a gender racial mix of a specific proportions. Whose standard of gender, racial proportion is another additional question.

    According to this racial, gender standard, 50% of United’s recruitment investments will be purposefully concentrated to specific races and gender. That mean’s “United will work with three historically black universities, Delaware State, Elizabeth City State and Hampton University, to recruit candidates.” Another form of racial segregation as these schools are “historically” black universities. I wonder if United plans on investigating “historically” female universities with investments for their recruitment efforts for their “targeted” goals of female pilots? In both cases, it will take a substantial investment of time, money, and purposeful engagement of “historically” black and female oriented universities to draw candidates into making a life-long commitment to be a commercial pilot.

    And who will be heading this new division of United’s recruitment efforts? Will the recruitment division, including leadership be white, black, male, and female? And what about getting Asian’s, Hispanic/Latino groups, including a “proper” proportional standard ( whatever that has been deemed appropriate) of female and male candidates?

    Of course, once you have gotten candidates to United’s newly purchased flight school, they will have to meet all the FAA commercial pilot requirements to become airline pilots. The natural segregation comes from their efforts to get them to their school. It will be very interesting ( Thank you Artie Johnson) to see how an airline running on pandemic financial empty, has the greenback where-with-all to make such a concentrated investment for such “targeted” focus on a specific gender and race. This is like throwing meat to the junkyard dog, ACLU associated lawyers, and further promote a festering racial war that obliterates so much of the civil right progress of the last 75 years for both female and people of color. Oddly, the company name leading this segregation is called “United”. Really?

  26. Terrible airline, having saved itself from bankruptcy by making crooked deal with C suite of successful airline, manages to continue terrible service for years afterward. Now there’s this much grief about a diversity program?

    I thank United for trying to support GA by forcing people to find other modes of travel to avoid their hubs.

    I do hope they don’t do what the universities have been doing in their quest for diversity which is namely to rip off a bunch of poor kids for tuition on education programs they were not ready for in a quest to make racial goals. They leave them with debt and without the papers that the thought would help them pay it back.

    I will warn NS there will end up being pressure to fill the seats. My mom worked for a top rated university that did not bow to that pressure, couldn’t quite get their goal on some races, and she got a lot of the phone calls from board members, politicians, parents, activists, etc. People you know from television.

    If I were you, NS, I would make sure you have job options because your new overlords are political snakes who care for no one. If you have scruples, you WILL be resigning. Keep records, you might get a book deal.