The sky is merely the limit for pilot Omar Brock and now he is on a mission to ensure the same sentiment rings true for Atlanta youth!
“My passion for aviation started about six years ago when I had the opportunity to work for a major airline as a flight attendant,” Brock told REVOLT. “I never desired to get into aviation — it wasn’t in my scope or anything and part of the reason is that I just wasn’t exposed to it. I didn’t know any Black pilots and I hadn’t had any interactions with flight attendants prior to taking the position after seeing a job posting. My thinking was, ‘I’m gonna try to be a flight attendant because I want to travel the world.’”
Prior to discovering his passion for flying, Brock was fully immersed into the music industry and even had a stint on the renowned singing competition “American Idol.” While a career in music didn’t quite fall into place for him, he did know that he wanted to travel the world. As fate would have it, the opportunity to do so came by way of taking the position as a flight attendant.
“Long before the aviation days, I used to hold a tune — but flash forward to the opportunity after seeing the job posting, I knew I wanted to apply and I got the job as a flight attendant. That was my first exposure to aviation,” he continued. “I had traveled before, but seeing how things operated from the inside brought a whole new perspective.”
During an introductory class, Brock soon learned of an alarming statistic. At the time, he found out that Black pilots only accounted for 2.4% of pilots in the industry. It was then that he knew he wanted to join and hopefully influence the aviation profession. He began to pay for flight classes out of pocket before his wife ultimately paid for his first discovery flight as a gift for Valentine’s Day.
“Once I took that first flight, I fell in love,” Brock expressed. “I’m a firm believer that you can do multiple things in your life, but sometimes God kind of circles you back to your purpose and it may not actually be what you thought or intended it to be. “
While he worked as a commercial pilot, something kept nudging at Brock. He wanted to do more than just fly planes for a living. Overall, it was important for him to use his profession to change the lives of others, which is when The Brock Foundation began to come into play.
“As my journey went on, I didn’t have mentors to call on. So, for a lot of my training, I spent more money than I had to and I ended up at flight clubs that took advantage of me in some ways,” he continued. “There was setback after setback in my training throughout the years and after 2019, the racial injustice going on in the world began to strike a nerve. It was then that I made the decision to use my knowledge in piloting to give back during the holidays.”
After a generic post calling for people with children looking to experience aviation in Atlanta to bring them out for flights at a local airport, the outreach was more than Brock anticipated. It was this event that encouraged him to launch the nonprofit that had been brewing as an idea in the back of his mind for a while. As a kid who often found himself in situations that served him no good, he knew the impact mentors could have on a child’s life, especially when or if they’re labeled as the “trouble child.”
“It’s important to me because I was an at-risk youth who came from a single-parent household,” said Brock. “I have a great relationship with my father. He was present in my life but my father was incarcerated for some period of time. And, because of my circumstances growing up, I often acted out at school. I was expelled out of almost five schools in Atlanta solely because of behavioral problems, and I know that all at-risk youth need is the opportunity to be exposed to something different.”
He understands firsthand how not all children are afforded the opportunity to experience industries like aviation simply because it is not accessible to them. Today, he continues to change that narrative by holding events like “Exposure Day” where young people can come out to the airport and learn to fly a small plane for the first time. They are also able to witness people who look like them suited up in uniform. It’s all about changing the perspective on life for the youth, thus putting them on the path toward success.
Since its inception in 2020, The Brock Foundation has transformed the lives of children through exposure to aerodynamics.
“A lot of people don’t know this, but the reason you see so many young white pilots is due to the fact that their daddies own planes or have money. We didn’t originally know this when first getting in, but the average amount of money you spend from trying to get your private license all the way to trying to work for a company like Delta, is the same that you’d spend to put yourself through medical school,” Brock explained. “This is why we really want to start raising the funds so that we can push kids who don’t have the resources or the connections. We want to be able to say, ‘Hey, we can provide this to you — not just the lessons but the financial element of it too.’”
Just last weekend, The Brock Foundation had the pleasure of flying nearly 200 youth out to California for more hands-on experience in the field of aviation, and the organization has no plans of stopping anytime soon.
“We’re absolutely teaching them that the sky’s the limit or, as I like to say, the sky’s the limit until it’s your point of view,” Brock concluded. “Each and every ounce of time and mentorship that we pour into these youth at every exposure event is changing the trajectory of their life and that is imperative because before our time is up here, we have to serve others.”
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