My name is Bakari Gaiters and I am a junior aerospace engineering major at Tuskegee University. I was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia and aspire to become a pilot for a major airline one day. After graduating college, I plan to work as an aerospace engineer while still working towards my airline transport pilot certificate or go into the air force to become a fighter pilot. During my time here at Tuskegee University, I have been involved with the National Society for Black Engineers (NSBE), the National Society of Success and Leadership (NSLS), I am currently the secretary for our American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and have been on the honor roll every semester of my tenure here.
Living ten minutes from the busiest airport in the world (Hartfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta, GA) sparked my initial interest in flying. As a child, seeing and hearing the roar of a different plane above my head every two minutes would leave me in shock and awe every time it happened. Aspiring to be a pilot is something uncommon for people in my area and I want to be able to open my own flight training school back home to create more black pilots. Receiving this scholarship has probably been the best thing to happen in my life so far, so I want to extend my deepest gratitude to the Red Tail Scholarship Foundation for giving me the opportunity to be able to earn my private pilot’s license.
“As soon as Rich Peace and I decided to create the Red Tail Scholarship Foundation we began searching for aspiring young pilots. The first person I knew to speak with was a local flight instructor and good friend of mine named Paul Davis. Paul is the best flight instructor I have ever met, with a wealth of experience, knowledge and blessed with the perfect teaching personality. I told Paul we were beginning a scholarship fund to honor the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen and our goal was to assist young African-Americans in gaining a career in aviation. I explained we would mentor them, guide and provide them some financial assistance and would not stop until they had a paying job in the field. I went on to explain the attributes we were looking for included some amount of intelligence, decent hand-eye coordination, but mostly we were searching for young people who were self-motivated and driven to succeed. Without hesitating Paul said he had the perfect first candidate for us already and his name is Torius Moore.”
Will Sparrow, Red Tail Scholarship Foundation