Welcome to a special edition of the Vaughn College blog. As the world celebrates Pride Month throughout June, we’d like to connect our LGBTQ+ community with the National Gay Pilots Association (NGPA) – the largest organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender aviation professionals and enthusiasts from around the world. This organization provides resources, career connections, supplementary education, financial and networking support to LGBTQ+ aviation students and professionals. Here, we’ll dive into what the NGPA does, the various resources it offers and how you can get involved.
What is the NGPA?
Founded in 1990, this charity organization has built its membership by staying true to its mission to build, support and unite the global LGBTQ+ aviation community through education, social events, advocacy and outreach.
What the NGPA does
The NGPA encourages members of the LGBTQ+ community to start their careers as pilots by providing a place where they can pursue their passion for aviation and connect with like-minded professionals and students. The organization promotes aviation safety, addresses concerns regarding homophobia and provides a social and professional network for the LGBTQ+ aviation community. The NGPA accomplishes these goals through advocacy, inclusion training and by hosting special events, expositions, and webinars throughout the year.
The NGPA hosts several events every year including its Industry Expo, Palm Springs Winter Warm-Up and the Cape Cod Classic held in Provincetown, MA. The NGPA Industry Expo is the organization’s largest event and features keynote speakers, aviation products and services, and serves as a place for hundreds of ATP-qualified active pilots to seek employment. It has grown to be the second-largest annual pilot recruiting and aviation networking event in the United States, after the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. This is huge!
In addition to its annual gatherings and several local chapter events, the NGPA, like Vaughn, proudly participates in other national and worldwide events hosted by organizations including Women in Aviation International (WAI), the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP), the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) to name a few. Vaughn funds student travel and participation in industry events hosted by these organizations and many others.
Community and resources
The NGPA connects aviation enthusiasts, members of the military, women, families, flight schools and others. It is all about building a safe community. Those who choose to join the NGPA as members can receive counseling services, mentorship, access to jobs, podcasts, publications and more. The NGPA’s Advocacy Council is available to help anyone who has experienced discrimination in the industry, needs training or consultation on policies or procedures.
The NGPA also offers a student membership for $20 per year for a maximum of two years available to students enrolled in a full-time flight training program at a community college, university, or flight school. Some of the benefits include membership in the University Chapter, discounts to NGPA events, subscription to Contrails magazine, access to aeromedical resources and counseling, and access to job postings and forums.
The history of Pride Month and Pride Day
Pride month is celebrated around the world every June to acknowledge those who were involved in the 1969 Stonewall Riots in Greenwich Village, New York. More recently, it has become a time when the LGBTQ+ community gathers to celebrate progress and spread awareness. Pride Day is celebrated on June 28 as the day when the first Pride march was held more than 50 years ago in New York City.
Vaughn proudly celebrates Pride Day and Month, and has a Gay-Straight Association (GSA) on campus which aims to create a safe and welcoming LGBTQ+ inclusive community for all students. The GSA is a student-led club that provides a supportive environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students and their allies.
The cost of pursuing a career as a pilot can deter students from achieving their dreams. The NGPA can help. The organization gives thousands of dollars in scholarships every year to aspiring aviators. Support and memorial scholarships cover everything from private pilot’s licenses, aviation maintenance, technical and academic studies and advanced pilot training. The application window for summer 2021 scholarships will open on June 15, 2021 – we encourage you to apply!