27-Year-Old Former Ramp Agent Makes History, Becomes Pilot For Delta Airlines
Nationwide — Justin Mutawassim, a 27-year-old African American pilot at Delta Air Lines, achieved his childhood dream of becoming a pilot at the same airline where he previously worked as a ramp agent.
When he was 5 years old, Mutawassim’s interest in flying began on his first time riding an airplane and exploring the cockpit. From then on, he had always wanted to become a pilot, he told the Washington Post.
However, the path toward his goal became unclear at some point. He was terribly discouraged when his middle school teacher, who was in the US Air Force, wrongfully informed him that perfect vision was a requirement to become a pilot. Mutawassim, who had to wear glasses, said he had no means to verify it at that time.
That’s why after graduating high school, Mutawassim settled to pursue a career in broadcasting. He started college, landed some jobs and he enjoyed it but he said it wasn’t as fulfilling as he thought aviation would be.
A year later, he decided to drop out of college and began working as a ramp agent loading baggages at Delta Air Lines in 2014. His passion for aviation came back stronger. He quickly climbed up the ranks and became a supervisor and then instructor. But he couldn’t find the confidence yet to pursue being a pilot at that time.
Mutawassim’s life started to change in 2016 when he met Ivor Martin, a pilot who is Black. Martin offered to mentor him when he shared about his long-held dream to become a pilot. With Martin’s support, Mutawassim was able to complete his licenses in just less than a year.
In 2018, he began working as a pilot for a regional airline and then a start-up airline. In 2022, he took the opportunity to apply to work as a pilot at Delta after learning that the company no longer requires a college degree for pilots. After a few months of training, he officially became a Delta pilot.
Mutawassim took to Twitter to celebrate his achievement. He posted a picture of him as a Delta ramp agent in 2016 and as a Delta pilot in 2022. “This one has been 6 long years in the making,” he wrote in his now-viral post.
Mutawassim, who is based in New York City, is currently taking college courses for a degree in Aviation Science and working towards his next goal of becoming a captain. He also does volunteer work mentoring aspiring pilots, paying forward what Martin did to him.
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