These opportunities will be a part of the Youth Aviation Adventures event at the Cleveland Regional Jetport Feb. 22, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Registration will start at 9 a.m.
The Community of One is sponsoring the event as a celebration of aviation and Black History Month.
Youth Aviation Adventures is geared for children 14 to 18, their parents and the community as a whole. The event is free with food provided for students.
Solomon Williams of Community of One, a group of Cleveland residents seeking to make a difference for area youth, said he wants to give students opportunities to learn about aviation.
“The idea of presenting new options and exposing our youth of all colors to aviation is something that is just needed. We have athletics, we have entertainment and all of this kind of stuff, but you don’t hear too many kids talking about careers and life inside aviation industry,” Williams said.
“Who knows? We might have someone come out that day and [go on] to make history in aviation.”
Andreas Montgomery of Vertical Stride LLC has been instrumental in bringing the event to Cleveland.
“We had wanted to do something that incorporated youth in our community and aviation,” Montgomery said. “One thing that we have noticed is there are almost no young people starting in aviation, and that is really not a good thing.”
He and Berry White have been planning the aviation elements of the event. Both are pilots, with White housing his plane at the Cleveland Regional Jetport.
“We thought it would be great to partner up in the new airport community and authority and showcase what we have in Cleveland,” Montgomery said.
A highlight of the day will be a presentation by The Sons of the Tuskegee Airmen.
“They (the Tuskegee Airmen) were one of the first squadrons of African-American fighter pilots that the U.S. Army Air Corps ever had. They had one of the highest kill ratios of aircraft over Germany,” Montgomery said.
The planes of the squadrons had tails painted red. Soon, the squadron became known as the “Red Tails.”
Fighter jets were used to protect bomber planes as they flew over Germany during World War II.
“All the bomber pilots started saying they wanted these Red Tails, because they were so brave, so willing to put their lives on the line and escort these bombers into these very hostile territory where flack and antiaircraft fire were all around them,” Montgomery said.
Some of the Tuskegee Airmen’s medals and pictures will also be on display.
Aviation workshops including aeronautics, helicopters in emergency medicine and careers in aviation will be offered.
In conjunction with the event, the Community of One is holding an essay contest with $200 going to the winner. The essay contest is open to students ages 14 to 18.
Students are asked to write one to two pages on minorities in aviation.
“We are not looking for a lot of the grammatical things at this point. We just want to get kids writing and exploring the world of aviation,” Williams said.
He said he hoped the students would look for others in addition to the Tuskegee Airmen.
Entries must be emailed to AviationAdventure@yahoo.com by Feb. 20.
While most of the activities will be inside the airport terminal, a few will be outside and available weather permitting.
One such event is the vintage aircraft display. Vintage aircraft and military trucks will be on site for students to explore and get a feel for what it might have been like to work in one.
“We will give them the opportunity to put on a helmet just like what the pilot would have been wearing,” Montgomery said.
They will also be able to try on communication equipment and a parachute.
“Most of the time people will never get the opportunity to sit in a military aircraft and try on a parachute,” Montgomery said.
The history of each of the vehicles will be explained.
A fight demonstration with the planes will highlight military maneuvers and formations.
A parachute jump from a historic military transport plane is also planned for the day.
“If it’s too windy or if it is raining, we won’t do the parachute drop, but we won’t know until the day before,” Montgomery said.
Prizes and souvenirs will be given out throughout the event. Williams said it will be a mix of fun and aviation related items.
Cadets from the Civil Air Patrol will be helping with the event information.
“They will be talking a little bit to the youth there,” Montgomery said.
The Civil Air Patrol provides cadets with training, scholarship and Air Force academy captain opportunities.
Preregistration for the event can be made by emailing AviationAdventure@yahoo.com.