Photo Credit: Anselm Winston
Black Pilot Gives Emotional Speech While Flying His Dad For The First Time
Who’s crying? We’re not crying, okay we are! A Black pilot recently went viral after giving an emotional and heartfelt speech to his father just before takeoff.
For the first time in 10 years since Anselm Winston obtained his commercial pilot license, his dad Ashman was able to fly with him.
In an Instagram post that has now gone viral, Winston told passengers, “A few bumps on the way, but I’m going to try and make it as smooth as possible because we have a VIP on board,” revealing that it is his father. “I’m just trying to hold the tears back, I didn’t think I’d cry, but this is a very special and very important flight to me because it’s the first one with my father.”
Anselm says his dad was the one who planted the seed for him to become a Black pilot by allowing him to visit his grandparents.
“Since I was three years old, I traveled a lot between Jamaica and Orlando to visit my grandparents,” he tells Travel Noire. “I remember always being excited about the aircraft.”
That excitement is what led his father, a professional cartographer, to build him his own flight simulator using Microsoft on one of their computers. But, despite that excitement and support from his parents, he almost missed his calling as he went through life thinking he would not become a pilot.
“I had a passion for flying and I loved airplanes but I spent junior high and high school just getting by,” he says.
He took a job at a restaurant right after high school where he did well and got promoted quickly from a busboy. But what he didn’t realize at the time was the stars would align perfectly, and he ended up being just where he needed to be. The restaurant where he worked was co-owned by a pilot.
Anselm was living in New York City at the time when US Airways flight 1549, also called Miracle on the Hudson, made an emergency landing in the Hudson River in 2009. When the co-owner came into the restaurant a few days later, their discussion on the incident led Mr. McNeill to invite him on his plane to fly with him.
“He pulls out this beautiful Piper Cub and it’s one of those airplanes where it can actually land on water,” says Anselm.
Mr. McNeill lets him take control of the aircraft and was shocked to learn that Anselm didn’t have any flying experience outside of his dad’s flight simulator.
He was a natural.
Anselm ended up flying with Mr. McNeil before the unthinkable happened: he sent him to flight school.
“They ended up sending me to the FlightSafety Academy in Vero Beach, Florida in 2009.”
He obtained his commercial pilot’s license in August of 2011.
Flying His Father
Leading up to the day of his flight with his father, Anselm didn’t know what he would say. He knew he would make an announcement, but he couldn’t find the words and had no idea it would get emotional.
“When I saw him, I just started choking up so it was just an overwhelming sense of emotions that I had.”
He also didn’t expect the video to go viral, which is why he now wants to use the opportunity to inspire and advocate for more people of color to consider careers in aviation; a field where less than 4% are Black pilots.
“I’ve got hundreds of direct messages from people saying I inspired them. I want people to know that if I can do it, so can they.”
Anselm says he’s working on a few projects and while he didn’t reveal the final name, he says his goal is to help aspiring pilots.