October 29, 2013
By AOPA ePublishing staff
Vision of Flight Founder Mike McKenzie joins with the city of Orlando to honor a subset of the Tuskegee Airmen, the Red Tail pilots, with a monument at the Orlando Flight Center on Nov. 11. The Red Tail pilots played a quintessential role in U.S. aviation history in spite of the racial discrimination they faced at the time, but were not among those awarded a gold medal by Congress at a 2007 ceremony in the U.S. Capitol rotunda.
Ten of the original Red Tail pilots, commemorated in the George Lucas film “Red Tails,” will attend the ceremony. The statue monument is more than 14 feet tall, made of marble and bronze. It will stand at the Orlando Science Center's Loch Haven Park entrance.
"I was fortunate enough to meet the Red Tail Pilots just over two years ago," McKenzie said in a press release. "I soon came to learn the full story of the Red Tail Pilots and what they have contributed to American history. Their story moved me to make it a mission to provide them the recognition they so rightly deserve.”
The Red Tail pilots will also be honored at Orlando’s Veteran's Day Parade Nov. 9 as Grand Marshals. A screening of the movie Red Tails will also be shown at the Nov. 11 ceremony in the Orlando Science Center's Digital Adventure Theater: A National Geographic Experience.
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Candler Field Flying Club is a young group focused on teaching young people to fly.
Thought about participating in a charitable flying event? Many nonprofit groups host a day at the airport in which volunteer pilots can give flights to eager fledglings. Check with your local airport about what may be scheduled for 2014.
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