CAHOKIA, Ill. – A dream come true for Nova West who says she just needed an opportunity. Now she’s doing the same thing for young people from the Metro East interested in aviation.
She created Minorities in Aviation with a mission in mind.
“My objective is to close the gap on the number of minorities in aviation and technological industries,” West said.
She started her aviation journey in the U.S. Marine Corps working as an electrician on helicopters where noticed something along the way.
“I’ve been in aviation for 15 plus years, and there are very, very, very, very, few minorities in this industry,” West said.
She credits her success to when she visited McDonnell Douglas, a major American aerospace manufacturing corporation, as a child in 1998.
“I got to see an airplane that was taken apart in a hangar, and I’m 36 years old now, and I still get stupid excited to see it,” West said.
Minorities in Aviation give kids a chance while encouraging them to take one.
“Everything you want is on the other side of your fear, and it’s absolutely true,” West said.
Antonio Anderson, 12, was one of the 15 kids between the ages of 8-17 who participated at the St. Louis Regional Airport in Cahokia.
He said he was thankful for the volunteer mechanics “because they didn’t have to be (there). They wanted to.”
Then, he took flight with a pilot.
“You could feel the breeze coming in through the air vents and then you could feel the air bumps above, Anderson said. “It felt good.”
His co-pilot was equally excited.
“I have as much fun as the kids do,” Young Eagles volunteer Bob McDaniel said.
West said Minorities in Aviation is in its first steps and she’s glad how things went in its first year.
“This is literally a dream come true I have to try not to cry,” she said.