NEW CENTURY, Kan. — The Kansas City Air Show is July 3 and 4, and one of the pilots participating wants to inspire a new and diverse generation of pilots.
Lt. Julius Bratton, of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, told 41 Action News his love for aviation started when he was five.
“My dad took us to a fly-in at Tuskegee and I got to ride in the back seat of a single engine propeller aircraft, and I think from my mental recall that as the first time I flew in an aircraft," Bratton said.
Bratton caught the aviation bug early and his father instilled an important lesson in him.
“My dad would always say if you could see it, you could achieve it," he said.
Bratton achieved his dream of becoming a pilot and hopes other young people from diverse backgrounds see themselves in aviation.
“If there are other young minorities, under privileged youth that don’t have access to aviation or the ability to even visualize aviation, well they can see it here at New Century this July 3rd and 4th," Bratton said.
In the aviation field, minorities are still underrepresented according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In 2020, for pilots and flight engineers, the government agency recorded 94% were White, 5.6% were women, 3.4% were Black/African American, 2.2% were Asian and 5% were Hispanic/Latino.
Bratton urges young people not to put limits on how far they can soar in life.
“Anything is possible," Bratton said. "Always have a goal and that way you know what you’re working towards and everyday you wake up incrementally get closer to achieving that goal.”
The KC Air Show will happen at the New Century Air Center.