William Moore Jr.,19, is a part of the less than 10% of minority pilots in the United States. According to USA Today, “94% of the country’s 155,000 aircraft pilots…identified as white. Only 3.4% were black.” Moore’s passion for aviation motivates him to encourage others to spark their own aviation journey. According to Pilot Institute, “The number of for-hire pilots has not recovered from the slump between 2014 to 2016.”
Moore spoke with children from the 2022 BWI Youth Initiative Program that was held at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport on August 1, 2022. The program seeks to interest more children in jobs in aviation and other airport assistance jobs. Moore recounted his journey into aviation starting professionally when he was 17.
“Once the aviation bug bites you, it doesn’t let you go,” Moore recalled.
Curious youth questioned Moore about how many people can fit inside of his Piper Cherokee 140 that he often refers to as “The Little Cherokee That Could.” They wanted to know the longest flight that he had taken in the small plane he owns.
Moore’s interest in aviation started when he was about seven years old. He lived with his family near Andrews Air Force Base, which is now Joint Base Andrews. Moore recalls military planes flying directly over his childhood home in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, when Air Force trainees were in the skies. It was then that he started to grow a consuming fascination for aviation.
Moore recollects going to his first airshow in September of 2009 and believes that it was his first Discovery Flight in Gaithersburg, Maryland that drew his interest even more.
“I was in the pattern [path for coordinating air traffic] for only a few minutes. The instructor, Mr. Ryan, gave me the controls and ever since that moment I was inspired to keep going with aviation.”
Moore began researching what steps that he would need to take to gain his pilot license after the experience.
October 15, 2019, Moore gained his private pilot license on his 17th birthday, the youngest age to obtain a piloting license. He hosted his parents for dinner at Katie’s At the Airport restaurant in Cambridge, Maryland after passing his private pilot checkride. Taking the final exam is required to earn a private pilot’s license. Moore remembers being very nervous to take his parents on his first flight after passing the final test. However, that successful flight was the reassurance his parents needed to let them know their son would be the skilled pilot that he is today.
Several years later, Moore became the proud owner of his own aircraft. He has hopes of soon upgrading to a Piper Cherokee 6, which will cut down on traveling time because of its more powerful 300-horsepower engine.
Moore is currently working to gain an instrument rating. Once he has completed the instrument rating requirements, Moore will then be able to fly in inclement weather, become a flight instructor, and fly as a commercial pilot.
Moore said that becoming a pilot is not necessarily the easiest profession to start. Aviation requires a mental capacity to process things. Flight school finances can also be challenging. However, Moore said prices for flight school have gone down.
After mentioning several cons of pursuing aviation, Moore recalled positive points as well.
“But there are a lot of pros like being able to fly wherever you want to. I believe my inner animal is a bird so being able to fly is amazing,” he said.
Moore currently works for Signature Flight Support as a line technician. He is responsible for the routine maintenance of aircrafts.
“I believe to be a great leader, you have to have been a great follower and that’s why I decided to be a line technician,” Moore said.
He is currently an on-the-job trainer where he assists new hires in becoming equipped line technicians.
“I often try to encourage people to continue a career in aviation. I want to inspire more people…I believe that’s why Signature saw me fit for the job,” Moore said.
Like other teenagers, Moore enjoys other hobbies like motorcycling and bowling. However, his devotion for aviation sparks other hobbies like flying simulators. He also uses his passion for aviation to motivate family and friends to explore the different opportunities aviation offers.
“If you have a gut feeling about aviation, just do it. Honestly, if you have a gut feeling about anything, do it,” Moore said.