23-Year-Old From Mississippi Becomes Youngest Black Boeing 777 Pilot


“I have been blessed enough to see all of the amazing opportunities this world is ready to offer us.” 

Malik Sinegal understands the realities of possibility. 

Just one year after earning a degree in commercial aviation from Delta State University, the Biloxi, Mississippi native made history as the youngest Black certified Boeing 777 pilot. 

“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,” Sinegal told News 25

The Boeing 777 is also the largest twin jet in the world. 

He was able to complete the certification through a scholarship opportunity. He actually didn’t realize he made the achievement until a Boeing representative contacted him. 

Sinegal said he wanted to get in the jet after being in it for the first time in over a decade ago.

“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.”

In addition to his degree, Sinegal holds a private pilot certificate. In this role, he is among the 3% of commercial airline pilots who are Black, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data

In 2018, he made stops in Egypt, Dubai, Tokyo, and Australia as an ambassador for Republic Airlines. 

He made this 16-day trip in honor of his late grandmother who passed away in 2017 and had dreams of seeing the world. 

In 2020, Sinegal started the Memphis-based Organization for Professional Minority Pilots. He also volunteers as a coordinator in a youth aviation mentorship program. 

Currently, Sinegal works as a flight instructor at New Heights Aviation in Batesville, Mississippi. 

Photo: Getty Images  


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