More than 80 students attended the Legacy Flight Academy’s (LFA) Eyes Above the Horizon event at Moton Field in Tuskegee, Alabama, last month. The one-day outreach program was last held at Moton Field in 2019. LFA’s Eyes Above the Horizon, which is free to all participants, is aimed at developing and fostering youth interest in aerospace careers through “flight introductions, mentorship, and immersion into the rich history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen.”
“You just never know the impact you will have,” said Dean Hall, Eyes Above the Horizon Tuskegee event manager. “I met a little kid five or six years ago at an Eyes Above the Horizon event similar to this event, and his parents found me today to share that he has plans to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy to become a pilot. This is why we do what we do.”
The Legacy Flight Academy conducts programs around the country designed to “showcase STEM and aerospace career opportunities to youth from underserved and underrepresented communities.” Founded in 2012, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization develops its programs with a focus on the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen. The LFA is currently making plans for its next Eyes Above the Horizon event.
If you haven’t been to Mouton field in Tuskegee–I suggest you put it on your “bucket list.” The Park Service has huge parking areas, as they often get tour busses in. The Park Service has a terrific video and presentation in a theatre. Many recounts of the Tuskeegee experience focus on the “victimhood” of the black airmen–but this one is uplifting–yes, there was discrimination, but this group was determined to set such high standards that they couldn’t be challenged. “Their overarching credo was “RISE ABOVE.” Their six guiding principles were: “Believe in Yourself”……”Use your brain”……”Be ready to go”…….”Never quit”…..”Expect to win”. Far from identifying themselves as victims–these people were assertive, depended on each other–and intent on displaying their capabilities. In short, They EARNED the respect!
There is a nice museum, and two original hangars are filled with exhibits and training aircraft. (I was surprised, the PT-19 was initially used, but it was so underpowered in the summer heat in the south that it had difficulty climbing above the local hills, so was replaced by the Stearman biplanes). It was one of those experience where we wanted to see MORE–some original buildings (not open to the public) still exist–you can wander around through the old post. Looking at sectional charts and aerial photos, I saw several auxiliary fields, and a much LARGER abandoned airport north of town. I asked the Park Service people about that field. It is not open to the public (but the Ranger mentioned that “the gate isn’t locked”)–we wandered through it–it IS much larger–had a capability of handling more airplanes–the ramps, runways, streets, and many buildings are still there. Suggest that any pilot put Mouton on their “bucket list.”
Sounds like a great museum to visit and I agree, the Tuskegee airmen have a tremendous legacy and America owes them and all those who served and continue to serve our deepest gratitude.
Sounds like a worthwhile endeavor. Hopefully its open and available to all kids and not another program targeted to specific pigmentation.
Sounds a bit silly. Airports are closing down, airplanes are nuisances, airline pilot jobs are boring, and pilotless drones are the big new wave. Aviation as a career (or even recreation) peaked over 4 decades ago. It’s nostalgic, yea.
Beats digging ditches. Has allowed my family a very comfortable lifestyle and my time in military aviation was something I wouldn’t trade for the world. To each his own.
Though I’ve met several Tuskeegee Airmen over the years, I’ve never met any that played the “victim card.” They were justifiably proud of what the did.
I was afraid that the National Park Service wouldn’t hold up to that high standard. They did a great job of not only presenting the exhibits, but putting them in context of the times and AVOIDING presenting them as victims.
A tip of the hat to the NPS for telling the story—the ENTIRE story—accurately! It’s the way history OUGHT to be presented—the good and the bad—“warts and all.” I think you will enjoy it.
Im going to check it out. I love this history. Tremendous group of men who deserve every bit of recognition they get.