Fashion, flying, and freedom

While Swegle and Robinson serve as great examples for potential paths that women of color should feel empowered to pursue, Morgan Johnson is blazing her own trail. Johnson was the first woman to earn her private pilot certificate through the historic Red Tail Scholarship Foundation and is leading the way for other women like her.

An enthusiastic and creative individual, Johnson combined her love of fashion with her passion for aviation. A graduate of Tuskegee University, Johnson now works for the Red Tail Scholarship Foundation that helped her earn her wings as its social media and marketing manager. She also runs her own small business, Era Air, where she is responsible for designing, creating, and selling streetwear fashion with a nod to her love of flying.

Johnson has her sights set on earning her instrument rating with the ultimate goal of becoming a corporate pilot. Johnson also feels it’s important to continue inspiring others to pursue their aviation dreams and will be able to continue doing that through her work with the foundation.

AOPA asked Johnson about how she became a pilot, and what she plans to do next.

How did you first become interested in aviation?

I’ve always been a free spirit. Luckily, I had a close friend who was a scholar in the Red Tail Scholarship Foundation. During his instrument training he was time building cross-country hours and invited me on some pretty cool trips. We flew to Atlanta, New Orleans, and he even flew to me in Ohio for my graduation party. I was enticed by the adventure aspect of flying and having the ability to travel leisurely. My friend referred me to the Red Tail Scholarship Foundation and I eventually became the first female private pilot in the program.

What do you hope to accomplish in aviation?

Statistics show that less than 2 percent of the aviation industry is composed of African Americans and even less are African American women. While it’s important to me to get my ratings and have a prosperous career in aviation, it’s much more important to me that Black girls see me representing them in the aviation industry. Growing up, I only really saw Black women with careers at desk jobs. And while there’s nothing wrong with those careers, it just always seemed like you had to fit into a certain box to have those types of jobs. I always tell

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