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Black History Month

Local Pilot Makes it into Ebony Magazine for Preserving and Creating Aviation History in the African American Community

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By: Christine Devine, Anchor - bio | email

Robin Petgrave is flying high! The Compton pilot was featured in Ebony Magazine alongside the nation's most prominent African Americans for training inner city kids to fly.  At the same time, he's preserving black history in aviation and creating it.

Last fall, Petgrave was on the pages of Ebony Magazines with super success stories like that of President Obama, actress Kerry Washington, basketball great Magic Johnson. Petgrave is no stranger to L.A. news, but this was different. This was Ebony Magazine's Power 100, the most powerful 100 in America's black community.

Petgrave was born in Jamaica, but grew up in the U.S. He became a helicopter pilot turned motivational speaker.  He says people would be shocked to see a black man as the pilot and even more shocked to learn he owned the company.

Petgrave founded Tomorrow's Aeronautical Museum.  The airport he operates out of is straight outta Compton. In exchange for volunteer hours he teaches young kids how to fly and several have set records flying solo, piloting their own planes. The museum is also a home aviation's black history.  The walls are lined with old photos of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, America's first black fighter pilots and crew. Airmen like Major Levi Thornhill volunteer with the kids. Petgrave says "It is important they know who's shoulders their standing on." It's also a safe place to get off the crime ridden streets after school. Perhaps ten thousand kids have walked through the doors going there after school to jump on the computers and flight simulators.

While you might be surprised to hear all this is coming outta Compton, know there's no stopping Petgrave. His next project is with SpaceX. While man may not be ready yet for Mars, Petgrave's success story has young blacks already working in aviation.

Tomorrow's Aeronautical Museum is holding a benefit in May.

Tomorrow's Aeronautical Museum

Tuskegee Airmen

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