Tuskegee Airmen rep set for March 8 event
by JOYANNA LOVE Banner Senior Staff Writer
Feb 20, 2014 | 635 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Youth Aviation Day at the Cleveland Regional Jetport has been postponed.

The event originally scheduled for Saturday is now set for March 8, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with registration starting at 9 a.m.

Andreas Montgomery of Vertical Stride LLC, who has been instrumental in bringing the event to Cleveland, said the date was changed due to adverse weather projected for the original date and issues with funding for fuel of the historic aircraft.

However, the change does come with one benefit. Because the date has been changed, a member of the Tuskegee Airmen will now be available to speak at the event.

Originally someone from the Sons of the Tuskegee Airmen had been scheduled.

Now, one of the actual famed World War II aviators will be present to speak.

“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 their 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.

All the bomber pilots started saying they wanted these Red Tails, because they were so brave and so willing to put their lives in the line and escort these bombers into this very hostile territory where flack and antiaircraft fire were all around them,” Montgomery said.

Some of the Tuskegee Airmen’s medals and photographs will also be on display.

Aviation workshops including such topics as aeronautics, helicopters in emergency medicine and careers in aviation will be offered. Vintage aircraft and military trucks will be on display for the students to look at and sit in to 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 by one of the historic planes will highlight military maneuvers and formations. A parachute jump from a vintage military transport plane is also planned.

The event is geared for children 14 to 18, their parents and the community as a whole. The event is free with food provided for students.

The Community of One is sponsoring the event as a celebration of aviation and Black History Month.

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 the subject of minorities in aviation.

Submissions must be received at AviationAdventure@yahoo .com by March 6 to qualify.