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Black History Month Spotlight: Chief Pilot Adam Roberts

January 10, 2023

Black History Month Spotlight: Chief Pilot Adam Roberts

Black History Month honors the arts, culture, traditions, and history of African American people in the United States. During this important observation, we are pleased to spotlight our team members who show how our different backgrounds contribute to The PSA Way.

For Chief Pilot Adam Roberts, his love for aviation began as a child in South Bend, Indiana, watching planes fly over his neighborhood. After high school, Adam enrolled in Indiana State University (ISU), earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Professional Pilot. From there, he taught as a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) at his alma mater. He further became certified in CFII, MEI, and then as a commercial pilot. Before arriving at PSA in 2018, Adam held the position of Assistant Chief Pilot in ISU’s flight department.

In honor of Black History Month, Adam spoke with us about his aviation journey, cultural traditions, and representation in the cockpit.

What was your path to PSA?

I heard about PSA through some of the former instructors that used to work at Indiana State, and they moved on to PSA, including my flight instructor, who still works here. Also, years ago when I was a flight instructor, we brought six or seven airplanes to Dayton Airport, and we got to park in the PSA hangar and get a tour. It was an awesome experience. So, that’s what really began my interest in PSA. I started here as a First Officer, then upgraded to Captain. Sometime later, I spoke with the previous Chief Pilot in this position, and he always thought I’d be a good candidate for the role. I got the invitation to come into the office and accepted the position.

What does your role as a Chief Pilot entail?

As a Chief Pilot, I am the manager of pilots at my base in Dayton. I do a lot of emails, talking to people about concerns, issues that need resolving, or if they need personal time off. I look into special projects. I speak with upgrade classes and new hires every other week. I also still fly about three days a month. I go out and talk to our crew members when they have a turn. So, it’s a little bit of administration, managing, and flying.

As an African American in aviation, specifically as a Chief Pilot, how do you feel you positively impact PSA’s culture of diversity and inclusion?

You don’t traditionally see a Black/African American in this position. You have the 1% of the 1%. So, having my foot in the door, it changes to say, ‘hey, you know, if you work for it, if you do a good job, it doesn’t matter if you’re Black or White, you can be in this position.’ I just like to show that it is possible.

What are some African American cultural traditions or customs you hold dear?

In my family, every year, we like to have these big family gatherings. Every Thanksgiving, every Christmas, this family member will bring this, and this one will bring that, and we’re all known for our certain thing. It’s important for us to be together during the holidays. Traditionally, we’ll gather around and eat. And that’s when the family starts telling stories. You hear the same stories every year, and it’s always great. That’s our cultural thing we hold near and dear.

In the spirit of Black History Month, what is it about your culture and heritage that you cherish the most?

When I go out and fly, I see a lot of Black pilots, and for me, that’s amazing. That is what I get joy from because it doesn’t matter who we work for or where we’re at; we always make it a point to say hi to each other. We can be halfway across the airport and always make the point to say hello. I also recently became a member of OBAP (Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals), and I’ve met other people in the industry and made friends. I didn’t see this ten years ago, so it’s amazing.

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