One young pilot hopes to go where no Black woman has ever gone before. Leona Serao is a 23-year-old commercial pilot who wants to make history as the first Black woman to fly around the world alone.
According to Earthrounders, of the 142 solo global flights, only 11 of the pilots have been women. None have been Black. But this summer, Serao plans to change that, setting off on a three-month journey from New York City and stopping in 33 countries and four continents.
“The fact that I’m going to be the first one means I’m going to be able to inspire other Black and other African people who want to join the aviation field,” Serao told Yahoo News.
On her website, Serao, who was born in the U.S. and raised in the Democratic Republic of Congo, says she was inspired to pursue aviation by her late father, who was also a pilot. And she hopes that her record-breaking journey will “pave the way for future generations, especially women and black women, to pursue their dreams without fear of failure and show them that anything is possible.”
“It is a challenge because it’s a male-dominated field, and women didn’t really get the opportunity to be pilots before,” she told Yahoo News. “We couldn’t even drive before [the 20th century]. And in the aviation industry, it stayed like that.”
The road has been challenging and expensive for Serao, who says her flight training cost her six months of intense study and over $70,000. But she’s not letting that stop her from making history. “When you have a goal, you have to fight for it, no matter the situation,” she said.
If you want to support Serao’s exciting journey, you can head to her website, where your donations will help cover the costs of her food, fuel and lodging during her round-the-world trip.