Miracle Izuchukwu is soaring to new heights in the aviation field. Inspired by black female aviators of the past, Izuchukwu will be joining the 1% of black women pilots in the industry. With hard work, courage, and dedication, Izuchukwu is on the mission to break glass ceilings as the youngest female pilot and inspire young girls in Africa to consider aviation as a career.
Chicago Defender: What inspired you to be an aviator?
Miracle Izuchukwu: I started working as an airport customer service representative before becoming a flight attendant. I met a pilot that instilled in me the passion to become a pilot.
Chicago Defender: What background got you to where you are today to become a pilot?
Miracle Izuchukwu: It started with telling my parents that I wanted to be a pilot. At first, my parents didn’t support my dream. They didn’t see it as a possibility. My dad told me that if a black woman were flying a plane, he would get off the plane. My mom was totally against it. My mom is a nurse and wanted me to follow in her footsteps. My mom felt that to survive in the United States, I needed to be a nurse to put food on the table. Being a nurse was not my passion.
I’m the oldest of five children. In the African culture, the oldest sibling is responsible for caring for their siblings. My parents said that there was no way I could leave my siblings behind. My mom tried to stop me at all costs, but seeing my persistence, she eventually caved in.
When I left for Ohio, I wondered if I had made the right decision. When I left home, I decided there was no going back. I had to prove to my parents that I would be successful. Not only did I need their support, but I also needed them financially. I had to find a way to support myself to enroll in the pilot program. I found a way by taking out student loans. I succeeded, and my parents are very proud of me.
Chicago Defender: What is one thing you would like to change in the aviation field?
Miracle Izuchukwu: I want a change in the pilot’s uniforms. Women have to wear pants and a tie. I would like to see women wear skirts, heels and have more options for wearing a uniform.
Chicago Defender: Only 7% of pilots across the nation are female. What does it feel like to be a young female in this industry that is dominated by white men?
Miracle Izuchukwu: It feels great. I’m very thankful for the aviators that came before me to have the opportunity to pursue my dreams.
Chicago Defender: How many flight hours do you have and need to become a commercial pilot?
Miracle Izuchukwu: I need 1,500 flight hours to work for an airline. As of now, I have 300 flight hours. The training is very intense. I have been keeping myself motivated because I know that I will reach my goal of getting 1,500 flight hours.
Chicago Defender: Can you describe what it feels like flying?
Miracle Izuchukwu: I would say freedom. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime. I finally found a career that I love. Growing up, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I would watch a lot of TED Talks, thinking about a career I would love. Becoming a pilot, I can do this job all day.
Chicago Defender: What aviator, past or present, you would like to have a conversation with, and what questions would you ask him or her?
Miracle Izuchukwu: It would be Bessie Coleman. She is the reason why I am a pilot. I would ask her what gave her the courage to become a pilot and people who doubted her being a black female pilot. I can relate to her because I went through obstacles to become a pilot as Bessie Coleman did.
Chicago Defender: You’ve been a nurse, flight attendant, and pilot before the age of 24. How does it feel to accomplish so much in such a short period of time?
Miracle Izuchukwu: I am excited about the many opportunities to come. I feel like I’m just getting started. I’m looking forward to being in the aviation industry and helping young girls who want to become a pilot because anything is possible.
Chicago Defender: What message would you give to a young woman who is considering a career in aviation?
Miracle Izuchukwu: I want young women to know that getting into the aviation field is very hard. What kept me going during the difficult times was showing up and being ready to put in the work. There were times I wanted to quit, but I would say tomorrow would be a better day. I would tell young women to never give up on their dreams.
Chicago Defender: Where do you see yourself in your career 5 to 10 years from now?
Miracle Izuchukwu: I want to travel around the world and meet young girls from Africa. I want to help them because there are not enough resources and opportunities to pursue a career in aviation. I want young girls to see me in my pilot uniform and tell them they can also become a pilot. Preparing the next generation of black girls that want to become a pilot is my top priority.