Fourteen lucky members of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland, led by Club President Ron Soeder, attended a five-day workshop about aviation. The program was initiated by the Richard Enty of the North Coast Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen Inc., and coordinated by Michelle Rosa of Premier Flight Academy at Burke Lake Front Airport and Roger Cram of Hiram College.
The boys and girls ranged in age from 10 to 16 years, and attended the eight hour per day workshop held at Burke Lake Front Airport from August 18 to August 22. The first three days involved classroom lectures on aerodynamics, navigation, aircraft engines, radar operations, and aircraft communications taught by certified flight instructors with Premier Flight Academy. In addition, Cram led classroom discussions with the students about the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military airmen, and their values, problem-solving techniques, and peaceful conflict resolution abilities. The students interviewed two original Tuskegee Airmen, Sgt. Tomas Austin (91 years old) and Lt. Arthur Saunders (86 years old).
On Thursday the group toured the Burke Lake Front Airport control tower, the Operations area, sat in a fire truck and a Cleveland Police Department helicopter, and visited the International Air and Space Museum. On Friday they toured the Cleveland Hopkins Airport radar room and control tower, the Airport Operations area, and the Airport’s fire and rescue departments. Each student sat in a fire truck as well as the cockpit of a Continental Airlines 737 passenger jet.
The program’s purpose was to introduce Cleveland area youth to aviation and the values and history of the Tuskegee Airmen and to foster relationships between The Tuskegee Airmen North Coast Chapter, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland, and Hiram College for future educational programs with area youth.