Wash. - Four years ago, Jaime Taylor took a detour from the University
of Washington to pursue an interest in flying. On May 22, she
becomes an aviation pioneer.
Taylor, 26, will
represent the Tulalip Tribes in a three-state flight to spotlight
aviation as a career path for young American Indians.
will fly a single-engine, four-seat general aviation airplane from
a campus of Northwest Indian College west of Marysville, Wash.,
to D-Q Tribal College west of Davis, Calif. The flight will be filmed
from a chase plane and made into a documentary, according to organizer
Carson said Taylors
flight will set numerous firsts: First female American Indian pilot;
first unofficial speed record between two tribal colleges; first
flight recognizing tribal youth programs and respective American
Indian nations; and first documentary film encouraging young American
Indians to pursue challenging non-traditional professions, such
"No speed record,
official or non-official, has ever been established by a Native
American pilot in the history of general aviation," Carson
Nike and the Tulalip
Casino are cosponsors of the flight. "Ill be wearing
a lot of Nike gear," Taylor said.
Carson, a Cheyenne and a commercial
pilot, recruited Taylor for the flight after meeting her at Auburn
Flight Services, where she is student services adviser. At the time,
he was working with Lori Parks, manager of Tulalips Youth
Prevention Program, to promote the tribes Native American
Youth Aviation Education Program.
Taylor said she
was sold on the flight after Carson told her about it. "Its
a really ambitious program," she said. And she represents a
common demographic: female, young, American Indian.
Taylor was presented
by Carson and Parks to the Tulalip Tribes Board of Directors, which
endorsed her as the tribes representative and pilot.
Carson said there
are about a dozen American Indian commercial pilots in the United
States. "We believe this is an excellent starting point to
attract attention [to an aviation] program for American Indian youth
in a field where minority representation is limited," he said.
an instructor at Proflight Aviation in Renton, will accompany Taylor
on the flight. He said career opportunities in aviation are opening
for young people. "I see quite a few kids [as flight students],
mostly in their senior year in high school, who are considering
going to an aviation university. This program could help them get
a jump start on their education."
theres a lot more to aviation than flying a commercial jet.
There are jobs as flight instructors, bush pilots and parachute
droppers. But jobs are starting to open up for commercial pilots
too, particularly in small airlines as those pilots advance to larger
starting to see a lot of movement as pilots get sucked up [to larger
airlines]," Brunstetter said. "Five years ago, there was
a pilot shortage."
Parks said the Native
American Youth Aviation Education Program will be held at Proflight
Aviation, an accredited flight school. Nine students will take a
six-week course that will lead to four flights.
If the flight is about educating
young people, its about celebrating them as well.
Going along in Taylors
plane will be Mariah White, 9, who helps support her family on the
Tulalip reservation by selling fry bread. Mariah also gets to bring
"We want to
reward her for being creative and for being just a good kid,"
After the record-setting
flight to Davis, Calif., Mariah and her friend will visit San Francisco.
While Taylor will
take part in a heady experience - setting four firsts, possibly
leading young American Indians to aviation careers - she is taking
it all in stride. In fact, in the same conversation about aviation
she can be equally enthusiastic about her avocation: performing
in improvisational theater.