Silver Air Pilot Brian Monette’s aeronautical journey began when he was just three years old. His parents often took him to the department store, Fedco, where Brian found himself exceptionally drawn to the fans aisle. Whenever he was at his mom’s house in Inglewood, he was fascinated with the planes flying overhead. After his first flight on Delta Airlines from Los Angeles to Seattle, he was hooked. He often found himself sketching model airplanes and other jet-related drawings in class.
In 2003, after a school trip to Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum in Compton, CA, Brian joined the after school and weekend program that allowed students to learn flight simulation, attend ground school, take aviation and engineering classes, and learn to fly a Cessna plane under the direction of a certified instructor. In exchange for this free program, Brian volunteered his time as a cashier at the museum’s Sky Café where he learned business skills, airport and airplane clean up, graffiti removal, other community projects, and assisted in training other children at the museum. On March 30, 2005, Brian made history as the first graduate of Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum Aviation Explorer Program to become a legally licensed pilot.
Through this training program, Brian made numerous friends and maintained strong connections with them, even after earning his private pilot license. Amidst the pandemic in June of 2020, although Brian’s career was busier than ever, many of his friends’ commercial pilot careers had come to a halt. Around that same time, Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum Aviation Explorer Program, the aviation program that taught Brian and his friends in exchange for volunteer work, was beginning to shut down. Recognizing the profound impact of the after school and weekend program, Brian and his friends were determined to empower future generations by providing access the same life-changing programs and opportunities. In 2020, a group of African American professional pilots and aircraft mechanics founded Fly Compton Foundation with one common goal; to give back and to invest in the youth of their community while actively contributing to the diversification of an industry that has historically been exclusive to individuals of a higher economic status.
Fly Compton realizes that although all program participants share an interest in aviation, not everyone may aspire to be a pilot. As a result, they offer a variety of programs for students ages 8-18 including In-Person Ground School, Online Ground School, Flight Training, Private Pilot Summer Camp, an Aviation Mechanic Program, an Engineering Program, a Drone Program, and an Arts Program.
Fly Compton is currently focused on building a bigger, universal fleet. Although they operate with three planes, a Cherokee 140 and two Cessna 172s, when one or two of the planes break down, the program is limited in what they can do. They also recognize that Fly Compton is still a fairly new foundation, so another main focus is raising brand awareness and securing more resources. Further down the road, they want to become a part 141 school so kids can get their license with the Fly Compton program. To learn more about the program and how you can help support its mission, visit their website or Instagram. If you want to get in touch with Brian, visit his aviation adventure and comedy YouTube Channel or Instagram.
A Blog By Silver Air