Leslie A. Morris

Les was born on the 7th of February, 1937 in Harlem Hospital, New York City, NY. He is a product of the New York school system. In July 1958 he married Virgina Morgan they had one son, Michael. They spent almost 60 years together before her passing in 2018.

He entered the service as a USAF/NY Air National Guard Aviation Cadet in 1957 and graduated in the top ten of his class as a 2nd Lt., in single engine, single seat jet fighter pilot in 1958. He attended advanced Aerial Combat training flying the F-86 at Williams AFB Arizona and Advanced Instrument training at Ellington AFB at Houston, TX.

Upon returning to New York as a National Guard Pilot, Les became an Air Traffic Controller at NY Center. Les spent seven years at the NY Center graduating from an Assistance controller to a full journey man Radar Controller. Les also became the Crew Training Instructor.

In 1965 Les was the first Afro-American hired by Eastern Airlines. He started out as a Flight Engineer on the Constellation and eventually flew as Captain on the Boeing 757. During his career at Eastern he flew various models of the Constellation, DC-8, B-727, L-1011 and B-757. He accumulated more than 19,000 hours and also became a Flight Manager/Check Pilot supervising and checking out flight crews.

Eastern Airlines employees went on strike in March, 1989. Les moved on and became the Chief Pilot for the Pan Am Shuttle. His career ended in 1991 when Delta Airlines purchased the Pan Am Shuttle.

In July, 1992 Les started a career as a part time instructor with Flight Safety International. He spent more than 23 years at Flight Safety serving as a Falcon 900 and Learjet 60 instructor. In January 2016 Les finally retired from professional flying. January 2016 marked 62 years since Les made his first flight at Zahn’s Airport in a Piper cub in 1954.

Les joined Negro Airman International in 1969 and immediately assumed the job of Treasurer. In 1971 Les created the NAI Summer Flight Academy with the purpose of training under represented students as pilots. He served as Treasurer, Operation Officer and President.

1997 Les with five other NAI members created the Black Pilots of America. Les has served as President, Operations Officer and Treasurer. In 2002 the Summer Flight Academy was renamed the BPA “Les Morris” Summer Flight Academy.

Tuscon, AZ