Malik Sinegal, 23, had always wanted to fly planes when he was growing up. In 2018, the Biloxi native got the opportunity to fly across the world in an Ambassadorial role for Republic Airlines through the Delta State University aviation program.
He made stops in Egypt, Dubai, Australia, Tokyo and more in 16 days. “They have blessed me,” he said about the opportunity he got from the university.
“We have the best teachers and instructors. Dr Speakes, Sam Washington, Chip Cooper, Rogel Campbell and Brett Oleis definitely need more credit for their hard work on campus.”
Sinegal graduated from the Delta State University’s Department of Commercial Aviation. As an ambassador, his role included recruiting the best people for the company as flight attendants, pilots and business majors, according to a report by the Delta State University.
He is now a certified Boeing 777 pilot, thus becoming the youngest African American in the world to achieve this feat. The aviation industry in the United States is one of the sectors with a glaring lack of diversity. According to the Bureau of Statistics, just three percent of commercial airline pilots are Blacks. Fewer than 7% are Hispanic or Latino and a little more than 4% are Asian.
What makes Sinegal’s story quite intriguing was the fact that he only found out about the news when a rep from Boeing contacted him about it. Also, many pilots achieve such a feat in their forties.
“The Triple 7 is one of the airplanes that people usually don’t touch until they’re around their forties or fifties or they’ve been at the airlines for a very long time,” he told WXXV25 in an interview. “And I came down with the opportunity where–a scholarship opportunity where I was able to get into the airplane.”
“The biggest reason for me is that I’ve always wanted to fly this airplane. I was able to get in it for my first time in 2004 going to Anchorage, Alaska, which is my favorite place in the world,” he said.
The African American is currently a flight instructor at New Height’s Aviation in Batesville, Mississippi.