St. Louis Downtown Airport is preparing to welcome the Legacy Flight Academy on Saturday, September 10, for a unique outreach and flight orientation program aimed at fostering an interest in aerospace careers among minority youth. Spots are still available for interested participants who want to experience the thrill of flight at no cost and take part in a unique program born out of the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen.
Eyes Above the Horizon was launched in 2015 to give under-represented minority youth an opportunity to develop an interest in the exciting field of aerospace through flight introductions, mentorship and immersion into the rich history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen. The program is free and open to minority youth who are between the ages of 10 and 19 on the date of the event, but RSVP’s and parental permission are required. Space is limited so those interested in participating are encouraged to register as soon as possible.
Sign up information is available at www.legacyflightacademy.org/eyes-above-the-horizon/.
During the event, which runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., participating students will experience a short flight in a basic training aircraft flown by a licensed pilot. While in flight, the students will have the opportunity to actually fly the plane with guidance from the pilot and to experience the confidence and thrill of being a pilot themselves.
In addition, a team of dedicated role models, whose experience covers a vast array of aviation professions, will lead discussions around academic college preparation, the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, and exciting career opportunities in both the military and civilian industry. The day will be made up of several hour-long sessions with a focus on team building and will include a luncheon with a keynote motivational speaker.
“The central and defining aspect of our program is the incredible story of the Tuskegee Airmen,” notes Major Kenyatta Ruffin, founder of the Legacy Flight Academy. “Through interactive activities and examples of the original Tuskegee Airmen and present role models, we educate our students on the critical importance of positive character values.”
Seminar leaders will come from Legacy Flight Academy, Scott Air Force Base and the United States Air Force (USAF), Southern Illinois University, Middle Georgia State University and others. Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Chapter 64, assisted by other St. Louis area EAA pilots, will provide Young Eagle Flights for all participants and students will tour the Greater St. Louis Air and Space Museum. Ideal Aviation will support the operation and St. Louis Downtown Airport Fire Department will provide an Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF) truck demonstration.
“This is the first time this innovative program has been offered away from the Legacy Flight Academy’s home airport in Tuskegee, Alabama and we’re excited to host it,” noted Erick Dahl, director of St. Louis Downtown Airport. “We’re hoping for a terrific turn out from students in the St. Louis region and across the Midwest and are confident the participants will be inspired and motivated to excel in their academic and career endeavors.”