Airlines’ Flight Decks Lack Diversity

Michael L. Zirulnik, The Hill, September 22, 2014

“The chief pilot asked me to hire a black female pilot so we could check off a ‘diversity’ box on a reporting form so we could keep our government contracts,” a human resources director of a mid-sized air cargo transport company told me last year at a pilot recruiting event. “Once I did hire that woman, the chief pilot came back to me and said to never hire another one [black female pilot] again. Things are gonna stay the way they’ve always been around here,” she said.

That same day, a captain at a large regional airline said his company probably isn’t going to hire black pilots anymore because “they drop out of training or quit after a year here.”


The flight deck of U.S. airlines remains a predominantly white male landscape. {snip}

Today, 4.1 percent of airline transport pilots (ATPs) are women, 2.7 percent are black or African-American, 2.5 percent are Asian and 5 percent are Hispanic or Latino.

An analysis of segregation in U.S. industry hiring practices using data from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for the years 1966 to 2003 that accounted for race, ethnicity and sex, shows that workplace desegregation stalled at 1980 levels. The failure has in part contributed to the monolithic demography of U.S. ATPs and a culture of whiteness and masculinity in the flight deck.

While the airline industry is not alone in its discriminatory hiring practices, it is perhaps emblematic of what is taking place across the nation. Hiring and employment regulations are being adhered to on paper and quietly subverted in practice. It is time to address the policy failures of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. {snip}


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  • AmericanCitizen

    I’m so surprised that blacks are not highly represented in a profession that requires hard work, intelligence, initiative and dedication.

    • Whitetrashgang

      Good, I mean who wants a black female pilot?You would not be safe for 100s of miles in any direction at any time.

      • JackKrak

        At least I would know which airline I could cross off my list before I even started looking for fares…

      • The Worlds Scapegoat

        I can just here it. “Don’t tell my to put the landing gear down” – said in a typical black female shriek.


        • Whitetrashgang

          As she bends over to pick up her weave which was knocked off by her black female co pilot for disrespecting her.

      • John Smith

        She’d give loud and obnoxious cabin announcements and her large hoop earrings will interfere with the headset while her nail extensions will make it difficult to flip toggles and get a good grip on the yoke. The other pilot will pass out from the odor of her perfume and the seats will need to be made wider to accommodate her large “booty.”

        • Whitetrashgang

          The bigger the berry the sweeter the juice.

    • curmudgeon VN Veteran


    • cherrie greenbaum123

      Who’d a thunk it?

    • Eddie Lutz

      And unoffensive body odors.

  • I surmise that if, by this late date, the diversitymongers haven’t been able to crack through the flight deck, that there must be a reason. And that reason is that the diversitymongers meet their Waterloo at the doors to the cockpit, namely the fact that the trial lawyers would be out in full force going on a lawsuit rampage if incompetent AA pilots directly lead to plane crashes. This is one time where I would side with the trial lawyers.

    • If ‘incompetent AA pilots’ (a redundancy) caused planes to crash, our friends in the media would blame the ‘hostile work environment’ on the flight deck and demand more AA hires, and increased pay—for AA hires.

      • The Worlds Scapegoat

        Almost all commercial airplanes can be flown and landed by computer. You could literately put a dog and a cat in the cockpit, and nobody would notice. Now they can hire blacks and other idiots, and they can pretend that they know what they are doing.


        • brior

          Not true yet. A computer does not have the final say in inclement weather,

        • 1stworlder

          I worked with a black doctor that malpracticed himself to death, the reason there are more black doctors than pilots is every deadly mistake a pilot makes kills them. The latest tech might have stopped his mistake. Pilots are still needed for take offs and landings the 2 most difficult parts of flying.

          • alanbstardmp

            or any number of other tasks as required

        • alanbstardmp

          it ain’t that simple

        • SFLBIB

          Someone has to turn on the computer and program it. The computer was turned off on the Korean Airline shot down by the Russians.

          • 1stworlder

            Don’t you mean the EU/Ukraine? Did you forget to ask the question Who Benefits?

          • SFLBIB

            If this was meant for me, I don’t know what you are referring to. The KAL flight 007 I’m talking about was shot down by a Russian fighter jet west of Sakhalin Island in 1983. In that case, the beneficiaries were some Russian generals got to keep their heads.

      • Fathercoughlin

        Or the rayciss air traffic controllers!

  • John

    I wouldn’t fly on a plane being piloted by a black any more than I would consent to being operated on by a black surgeon. Neither one is going to happen.

    • Alucard_the_last

      It can’t happen. Having an average IQ of 85 will keep them from doing anything except crime and menial jobs -if they do that at all.

      • Epiminondas

        And government work.

        • Ngati Pakeha

          ‘Government Work’

          A true oxymoron if ever there was one.

    • Oil Can Harry

      You bigot! How dare you criticize black doctors!

      I’ll have you know that Michael Jackson and Kanye West’s mom were treated by black physicians and look how they… uhh, never mind.

      • 1stworlder

        You would get more time in jail for illegally downloading one of MJs songs than the guy that killed him.

    • Visceral

      You’re telling me if you got on a plane and saw Flavor Flav in the cockpit you’d turn around and get off the plane?

      You racist!

      • 1stworlder

        better than dead

      • John

        Yes to your question and yes to your statement.

  • D.B. Cooper

    I say go ahead and hire them. Perhaps a few plane crashes might wake some of these people up. Besides, I see plenty of Asian pilots for China Air and Singapore Airlines. Plenty of Mexican pilots at Taca and Aero Mexico.

    • Easyrhino

      Was a black female pilot behind the wheel the reason you chose to jump out of the plane?

      • Rhialto

        A Black woman who is capable of piloting for an airline would have access to much more profitable occupations. Triple digit IQ Black women stick to college teaching/admin., legal stuff, and entertainment.

        Even Black men don’t show much air worthy talent; South Africa is forced to use White male pilots on its airlines.

      • Shadow

        I would jump…

        …for my life!

        Who wouldn’t?

      • AmericanCitizen


    • Tim

      I got on an Aeroliteral flight to Monterrey. The bartender in my spotted Pina Colada stains on the pilots uniform shirt from six seats away…

    • SFLBIB

      The airline in the article was “a mid-sized air cargo transport company.” Big difference between hauling a load of strawberries and a load of people.

  • Easyrhino

    More nonsense similar to the recent whining about Silicon Valley not hiring (non-existent) black software engineers.

    • journey

      We should put all the whiners on planes piloted by blacks and low IQ Hispanics. In South Africa, black “leaders” will not get on planes unless flown by white pilots.

      • 1stworlder

        Make sure the planes are heading out over water, don’t want it landing in my back yard.

        Air Force One crashed in the middle of rural America. Panic stricken, the Secret Service mobilized and descended on the farm in force. When they got there, the wreckage was clear. The aircraft was totally destroyed, with only a burned hulk left smoldering in a tree line that bordered a farm. Secret Service descended upon the smoking hulk but could find no remains of the crew or the President’s staff.

        To their amazement, a lone farmer was plowing a field not too far away as if nothing at all happened. They hurried over to surround the man’s actor. “Sir,” the senior Secret Service agent asked, panting and out of breath. “Did you see this terrible accident happen?” “Yep. Sure did.” The man muttered unconcernedly. “Do you realize that is the President of the United States’ airplane?” “Yep.” “Were there any survivors?” the agent gasped. “Nope. They’s all kilt straight out.” The farmer sighed cutting of his tractor motor. “I done buried them all myself. Took most of the morning.” “The President of the United States is DEAD?” The agent gulped in disbelief. “Yep, he kept a-saying he wasn’t … but you know what a liar he is!”

  • curmudgeon VN Veteran

    I know I do not want to fly with an affirmative action pilot at the controls.

    • rightrightright

      Obama and Holder should be flying about in AA piloted ‘planes.

  • FozzieT

    We should encourage some DWL’s to remedy this situation by creating a new airline with only black pilots, mechanics, and flight attendants. They would all fly it out of guilt, and blacks would fly out of racial solidarity. The resulting crashes would thin the population of both these groups.

  • TruthBeTold

    I demand the right to know if my pilot is non-White or worse, Muslim.

    • rightrightright

      Or both.

  • jambi19

    Google “Federal Express Flight 705” if you would like to read about the vibrancy that diversity brings to air shipping and travel.

    • dmxinc

      The bloody footprints on the ceiling of the galley.

      Yes, it was diversity at its finest, but nothing was ever done about it because he didn’t succeed in killing anyone and, of course, he was in a protected class.

    • exlib93

      I remember that…the crazy schwartze who high jacked that plane to get a big life insurance payout for his family.

    • Heck, search for “Ebonics Airways” 🙂

  • dmxinc

    I’m a pilot for a major airline.

    Once while commuting up to work on a regional carrier, the pilots turned to me and said “Your company just hired the worst pilot.” They proceeded to back up that assertion with anecdotes of the pilot’s exploits.

    It was a black female.

    • Alucard_the_last

      They need a white co-pilot since they probably don’t even know what to do during take off. After that, the auto pilot does the rest.

    • bilderbuster

      I have a friend who is a pilot at a major also.
      He once told me about a Haitian woman who left her seat, hiked her skirt, squatted in the aisle and pinched one, then returned to her seat.

      • Tim

        I was coming out of the Supermarket when I saw what I thought was a Carribean woman trying to steal my tire… No she was just squatting down next to it!! And with a restroom forty feet away thru an automatic door

        • bilderbuster

          Diversity and illegal immigrants add a new twist to “squatter’s rights”.

  • MikeofAges

    What a bunch of whiners. Considering the number of OTA minorities are uneducated or just plain outright ineducable whether due to genetics or circumstances, 7.5 percent is a pretty good number. The number of whites, East Asians and South Asian who could be trained as commercial pilots is quite large. Engineering training probably is the best background, but other people could qualify as well. What, are we supposed to hold back people and limit the number whites and Asians so that the percentage of OTA minorities can rise, just like we do with everything else?

  • Tarczan

    “Research shows that minority pilots, including female pilots, are as capable, if not more capable and qualified, than their white male counterparts even though coworkers and the public attribute the reason for their being hired as the need to fill quotas.”

    So the highly qualified darkie pilots are victims of racism. What research is that?

  • journey

    Reality meets reality when a plane crashes killing hundreds due to AA versus medical
    mishaps using blacks like a Ben Carson. For the sake of the diversity altar, sacrifices can be made one at a time but hundreds at a time would cause a huge outrage.

  • JustJeff

    “Aw hell no, you ain’t the same color as me so I’m flyin this bitch!”

  • Luca

    It is more important to worship at the altar of the false god “Diversity” then to concern ourselves with saving lives and airline safety.

    • Bantu_Education

      Especially when it is mostly white passengers who will be killed.

  • Rusty Shackelford

    I think there should be an airline staffed exclusively by black and Hispanic pilots, with the planes serviced exclusively by black and Hispanic crews. White liberals should be forced to be their only customers.

    • MekongDelta69

      Try Afro-Cuban airlines. Nothing but black and brown employees.

      Their motto:
      “You fly ’em. We crash ’em.”

    • Uncle_Dan

      Surely they wouldn’t need to be forced?

      • Rusty Shackelford

        Well, remember, liberals love diversity in theory but avoid it in practice. So yes, some prodding might be required. Threatening to release a film of them refusing to get on the plane at their next PTA meeting or private school fundraiser would probably do the trick.

        • Uncle_Dan

          Sorry – forgot to turn on my irony font.

          • Rusty Shackelford

            Oh, I got the irony, was just playing along.

  • Teresa Nichols

    I want my airline pilot who’s flying the plane I’m on the same way I want my neurosurgeon operating on my brain; white, male and middle aged.

    Sorry but when my life is involved, you can shove your diversity.

  • Alucard_the_last

    Nothing is stopping them except their intelligence. There isn’t some secret movement to keep them out of being airline pilots. The demographics of them being baggage handlers is much higher which is why people have things stolen from locked bags.

  • Epiminondas

    I can’t wait for affirmative action to show up among pilots and surgeons. That’s going to be fun.

  • jim

    I always ask people who agree with this nonsense why is it a problem? Have things been so screwed up that we need to get some new blood in the company? What is wrong with the way business has been run? I never get an answer…usually just a frustrated look and then they leave. Just what I thought….

  • Simonetta

    I can’t believe this story.

    I mean, haven’t we all seen the great Denzel Washington in the movie “Flight” get drunk as a skunk, high as a kite, and fly a giant commercial jet upside down with half the tail rudder gone, and then crash land it into a little lake with (almost) no loss of life?

    And then get the urine test thrown out on a technicality. And have everyone in the FAA think that he’s the greatest guy since Malcolm X and Steve Biko. And then decide to just go to jail anyway because it would be the right thing to do?

    And you wouldn’t want to fly on a plane with a black pilot?

    I mean, really!

    • Jefferson

      Denzel Washington plays the magic Negro role just like Morgan Freeman.

      • Bantu_Education

        Hasn’t DW played God yet? Must be racial discrimination denying him the part.

        • Ngati Pakeha

          Actually I think he has played God in a film. There you go. Then again anyone that can interject himself into what should be the whitest of white movies, Robin Hood, has someone looking after him.

  • JohnEngelman

    I do not want to die because of an affirmative action policy. That is why I do not want to go to a black doctor if I can help it.

  • bilderbuster

    This idiot Michael Zirulnik writes about this is a bad thing and airline passengers are supposed to get very upset over this LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!

    • Grantland

      He’s not an idiot, he is a foul, evil, feces-eating JEW.

      Censor that you, disgusting soft white grubs.

  • NoMosqueHere

    Pilots are to whites what basketball players are to blacks. Ok? Can we move on?

  • dave

    Diversity and affirmative action is another way of saying “no whites need apply”

  • IstvanIN


  • John Smith

    Just as Eric Holder forced police departments to lower their entrance exam passing grades to F, he’ll force airlines to lower their passing grades to F. While we’re on diversity, can’t we get a white NBA or NFL player?

    • Uncle_Dan

      Eric Holder does not fly commercial jets.

    • Ngati Pakeha

      The funny thing is if the NFL ever bought in a clean slate requirement you’d probably see a noticeably lighter colored NFL. Then again we have our old legal bête noir call instantly hovering – disparate impact.

  • LHathaway

    I believe the rock band Rush wrote a song mentioning something like this, ‘Half the World’.

  • Ruger380

    Good. I don’t want to put my life in the hands of a sub human savage with an IQ of 55 who
    was hired just because of his color.

  • ZB01

    As someone who is half black, even if I believed in “some” affirmative action—and you guessed it, I don’t at all, I sure as heck wouldn’t want AA at an altitude of 35,000 feet and 400 mph! Give me the meanest, most loathsome White man—even one who would “hate” a decent guy like myself for no other reason than that I’m not fully White, any day, who is otherwise qualified as a pilot, over the most well mannered, graceful AA minority.

    It’s an airplane for God’s sake!!!

    • The Worlds Scapegoat

      It isn’t the 35,000 feet and 400 mph that you should be worried about. It is anything within 1000 feet of the ground that you need to worrying about.


    • Uncle_Dan

      The new version of “No atheists in foxholes.”

    • R L Buds

      “the most well mannered, graceful AA minority”

      WTF does that mean? They aren’t ever grateful–they are resentful and they expect sub-standard requirements.

      • ZB01

        It’s more tongue in cheek….sort of like saying “For the sake of argument…”…you’re granting a point to prove a greater point. (Like “What if I could flap my arms and fly?” Well, we know that can’t happen…but for the sake of argument….) But I’m not implying that it’s an everyday occurrence, so I see what you’re saying, too.

  • “Research shows that minority pilots, including female pilots, are as capable, if not more capable and qualified, than their white male counterparts”

    What “research’? Even a high school term paper should give us some idea. Plus the article is saying the big problem is numbers, as if their are thousands of intelligent hardworking highly qualified black candidates out there determined to become airline pilots. Right. Last week it was the shocking lack of black Army combat officers. Just the latest two examples of ‘Diversity is our strength!’ What sane awake adult believes this relentless ham-handed propaganda anymore?

    • The Worlds Scapegoat

      “What sane awake adult believes this relentless ham-handed propaganda anymore?”

      Americanus Stupidicus.

      Oh wait, you said sane. Never mind.


      • Yes, “sane” allowed millions to jump through the loophole. Speaking of “Stupidicus,” at this very moment people like Rand and Jeb are probably feverishly working on competing plans to revamp the airline industry to bring in more non-Whites, especially the undocumented.

    • OS-Q

      The logic of this statement is that minority pilots are,
      at the very least, equal to white pilots – except in the cases where they
      are better.

      So its OK to claim white inferiority?

  • ZB01

    I’d bet $20 that if you increased the number of women and blacks as pilots today, in 10 years the FAA will conduct a commission study on an “inexplicable” increase in the number of pilots who call in sick; and also, an increase in late arrivals of planes to their destination.

    Actually, I’m being serious; not facetious.

    The suggestions from the FAA study will be some non sequitur like “more diversity” or more “sympathy” from airline executives. Also, the study will cost many millions of your tax $ and mine.

  • ZB01

    AAA Affirmative Action Airlines…Every ticket includes a $1mm life insurance policy. We “promise”.

  • The Worlds Scapegoat

    Yes, It is much better to have Pakistani pilots flying military aircraft in case of a coup by Pakistani Muslims.


  • Rurik

    Remember General Casey, who was glad Diversity was not damaged at Fort Hood.

  • brior

    I work in aviation and know for a fact you can not pull the AA hire bull crap on the flight deck, Unless of course you want a lot of people to die from the soon to be lawn dart experiment.

  • Ngati Pakeha

    Flying planes! Some of these people hadn’t even seen a white man as recently as a generation ago. I see your Police put an Islamic troublemaker down for the count yesterday. A few more to go GM.

  • Lee_CPA

    The politically correct will never, ever admit to differences between the races. So, repeat after me:
    “Race is a social construct.”
    “There is no such thing as a racial IQ hierarchy.”

  • Ed

    Do the African airlines have black pilots?

    • Bantu_Education

      Most of them are barred from flying to Europe, must be that ugly racism again..!

    • yes, a photojournalist, Michael Christopher recently did a journal of an airport in “The Democratic Republic of Congo”. Attached below:

  • Mack0

    Like every other attempt to make things “diverse” the standards for pilots will have to be lowered in order to have more black pilots. Do any of us want to fly a plane with a less qualified pilot who got the job because of his race? I know I don’t.

  • Tim

    Reminds me of the classic Jimmy Stewart line in Flight of the Phoenix…. “I… I remember when we took great pride in just GETTING THERE…”

    • Bantu_Education

      Loved that movie, especially the part played by Hardy Kruger as the very serious and precise German “aircraft designer” whose idea to create a new plane from the wreckage was mocked by some of the other survivors.

      • LHathaway

        I’m not sure it was intended to be, but that film could definitely be seen as a metaphor for whites trying to escape an unpleasant, encroaching death.

        • Bantu_Education

          During the movie some Bedouins set up camp over the next dune but hadn’t seen the plane crash site. The survivors heard them but were apprehensive about whether the Arabs would help or harm them so 2 men volunteered to go into the camp via a roundabout route. The next morning the Arabs had gone leaving the 2 men with their throats cut. The writer of the original novel obviously knew something about Arabs, and, in those days (I’m speaking of the 1965 original not the recent remake), the fllm script-writers were not afraid to keep that un-peecee part in.

          • LHathaway

            You remember the film quite well! Some have noted that, other than a ‘mirage’ there are no women in the movie. The cast and the extra’s are all men.

          • Bantu_Education

            Thats maybe one of the things that made it so memorable – so often women (and these days blacks) are inserted into a movie for no discernible purpose and their un-necessary presence can trivialise an otherwise good story. “Ice Station Zebra” was another movie from the same era with no women.

          • LHathaway

            The fact that it’s an all-male cast might lend to the idea that the film is meant to be a metaphor for white displacement. It would seem unlikely the film was Intended to be a metaphor for white displacement (perhaps mental illness) but the film could certainly be considered that now. I think our life raft will be the new nation in the pacific northwest we create for ourselves, rising like a phoenix from the old. I hope we take some girls with us.

  • Bantu_Education

    A few years ago in Apezania (formerly S.Africa) a helicopter with an AA bantu female “trainee pilot” at the controls crashed just outside a large aircraft hangar – the press said it was a miracle it didn’t crash into the hangar full of aircraft and fuel but the (white) instructor, who died along with the bantu, apparently wrestled it away at the last minute. It later emerged that this instructor (and others) had earlier made a written complaint that their lives were being endangered by the authorities forcing them to go aloft with incompetents at the controls. The Bantus promised their usual “investigation of the facts” (i.e., suppression of the facts) and of course nothing more was ever heard.

  • rommel10

    this is all we need do this and we will all have to fear jets, passengers and people on that are on the ground also. what was that movie about negro airlines?

  • Doomispixulated

    Denzel can fly a commercial airliner upsidedown while drunk, stoned and on only an hours sleep, so we all know “they be the best”… Please!

  • newscomments70

    I remember flying through Fiji on small, local airlines. The pilots were Fijian males, who look basically black. They were mostly competent and could fly in adverse conditions, heavy winds, and land on grass fields. I cannot see most black American doing those jobs though. There are always noteworthy exceptions, but most will not have the ability qualify; they will be forced in by affirmative action. We will have underqualified pilots making several errors and causing horrific accidents. Furthermore, many have a chip on their shoulder and will yell racism everytime they are caught making a mistake. I wish I were wrong. I hope am proved wrong, but I know this will happen.

  • fitz fitzgerald

    Asian flight decks have had a terrible year of fatalities…starting with the Asiana scandal at SFO. …

    • AFlaVet

      Their CRM sucks. Asian PIC’s think they’re gods and it’s a tradition for them never to question them. Even if they’re wrong and you’re about to die in the front end of a jet.

  • We Muslim pilots are also feeling a little left out, please let us fly more big jets around your cities. In this world of pc the least you could do is not assume all us US trained pilots are up to no good.

  • John Smith

    I sooooo want my pilot to be a product of affirmative action.