Steve Ritchie graduated first in his Undergraduate Pilot Training class in 1965, but he almost …
As a 5-year-old, David Pettet wrote a letter to himself saying he wanted to be an airline pilot. He became a CFI as an 18-year-old, hired on as gate agent with a regional carrier, and parlayed that into a flying job. He was hired by Omni Air International as a B767 pilot, then moved to Hawaiian Airlines, flying the DC9 and the A330, and finally landed his current job at a major legacy airline.
He has been a member of the National Gay Pilots Association since his early years as a pilot, and served in numerous leadership positions, rising to his current position as Executive Director. The NGPA has both gay and straight members, and offers numerous membership benefits, including networking opportunities and millions of dollars in scholarships available to all members.
The NGPA is now an international organization, and is much larger than simply the LGBT community, offering networking opportunities for pilots of all genders and lifestyles. Their Industry Expo offers representatives from numerous airlines, including over 40 airline and vendor exhibitors. The last several hours of the Expo are reserved for members only, to allow them to interface with airline recruiters.
The scholarship program is currently giving away 3 B737 type ratings, over $100,00 in cash awards, and a $5000 Private Pilot scholarship. Here’s the important point for all pilots: you don’t need to be LGBT to win a scholarship – fully half of the scholarships go to straight pilots! The organization has stated, “In order for us to ask the industry to be inclusive of LGBT, we have to be inclusive as well.”
The organization offers several types of memberships, from individual to family and student.
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