Nothing screams “soft life” like soaring through the sky with the world beneath your feet. Instead of paying for a plane ticket, one Black woman has taken aerial travel to the next level. Leona Serao is a pilot who plans on becoming the first Black woman to fly around the world solo.
This summer, Serao will embark on her global trip. Yahoo News reports the U.S pilot will start her travels in early August. Serao plans to start her international, three month trip from New York City. She will fly across 33 countries and four continents. Serao was born on U.S. soil but was raised in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. Congo is Africa’s second largest country where only three women pilots exist.
According to her website, Serao’s father was a pilot and after his death he inspired her career. The 23-year-old struggled conforming to American culture, according to Yahoo News. She studied Aviation Business Administration at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Afterwards, she received her license in 2020. She will return to her native country towards the end of her travels.
Changing the Narrative for Black Pilots
Serao hopes her journey will impact young Congolese women interested in her career path, especially since the aviation industry is male dominated. According to Yahoo News, 11 women out of 142 pilots embarked on solo trips across the world. However, none of these pilots were Black women. And of the 158,000 licensed pilots in America, only 150 are Black females. That means less than one percent of pilots are Black women.
On Serao’s website she writes that she believes Black women deserve equal opportunities. She wants to change the narrative and show that Black women can become licensed pilots traveling the globe. Serao says she believes in a world without any form of discrimination.