XENIA, Ohio (WDTN) — A 16-year-old pilot will be landing in Xenia for a stop at Wilberforce University as part of his tour to seven historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
Zaire Horton, 16, began his flight in Chicago and will be landing at Lewis Jackson Airport in Xenia for his visit to Wilberforce University, his first stop in his solo flight to seven HBCUs.
The nation’s first, private, historically Black college/university is the first of 7 HBCUs that Horton is visiting to pay homage for efforts to integrate a 1940s program that trained civilian pilots. That same initiative excluded African Americans, and during that time, some HBCU administrators asked the federal government for equity.
“The seven states that my instructor and I have selected for my tour all house a historically Black university that played an instrumental role in the history of aviation,” Zaire said.
Horton was introduced to flight as a freshman at the College Preparation and Placement Program at Dunbar Vocational Career Academy in Chicago, Illinois. He started out by flying Cessna planes and Taildaggers at the age of 14 and at 16, he earned his glider pilot license and flew his first solo flight.
“I want to encourage teens who would be interested to learn to fly without encountering some of the socio-economic barriers typically associated with careers in aviation.”Flying is another way to open doors and I want to inspire them to experience that,” Zaire said.
Zaire will be landing in Xenia around noon on May 8.