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One Flight, One Crew: Opening the door to a more inclusive aviation community

May 19th, 2023

The professional aviation community is full of skilled pilots who command aircraft across the globe. With the world more open than ever, it’s easy to assume that the pilot pool is just as wide and diverse. However, if that was the case, Cutting Edge client FlexAir would not exist. 

Instead, FlexAir was developed to address this growing problem. With representation by women and people of color in the professional aviation community less than 5% despite decades of outreach and effort, the FlexAir flight school was created to serve the underrepresented. 

FlexAir provides flight training, mentorship and coaching to veterans, minorities, and others who wouldn’t normally get a chance to enter the career field of aviation. FlexAir’s mission is to make the next generation of pilots more professional, diverse, and inclusive than ever before. 

“We believe the pilot shortage is a mentorship shortage,” shared FlexAir Co-founder and CEO Paul Wynns. “We’re breaking away from the traditional training model of ‘you must have the right stuff’ to become a pilot by creating mentorship relationships with student pilots to raise them up instead of weed them out.” 

As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, son of an immigrant family, and second-generation veteran, Paul Wynns long career in aviation and aerospace was devoid of mentors that looked like him. Reflecting on his experiences, Wynns realized that successful pilots not only possessed strong skills, they also had strong support systems of people behind them. This emphasis and need for mentorship led to the idea of “One Crew,” a combination of flight instruction and career mentorship FlexAir offers to all of its pilots. 

Now, FlexAir is taking its mission to new heights with a recent acquisition of Air Associates Flight Training, a Kansas City flight school serving veterans and Department of Defense SkillBridge trainees. With plans to fly the world’s first all-electric, zero-emissions training aircraft, FlexAir is seeking impact investment partners to help the company grow and change the face of aviation. Learn more about FlexAir here.