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Red Tail dream alive in AlabamaTuskegee legacy living ‘in the hearts of future aviators’

The Red Tail Scholarship Foundation honors World War II Tuskegee Airmen by training future generations of African American pilots and mechanics from Moton Field Municipal Airport in Central Alabama, the site of a 275-acre grass airfield where Tuskegee flight students practiced basic flying skills.



Note: Video available on aopa website in the article link.


The first black military aviators went on to defy expectations, and their heroic performance in World War II helped pave the way for future black pilots. The aviation scholarship foundation was established in 2017 to honor their legacy.


Board member Hammond Cobb said the Red Tail Scholarship Foundation’s objective is to create more African American aviators than the nearly 1,000 fighter and bomber pilots who graduated from Tuskegee Army Air Field during the war. “The legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen is not in a museum, but it’s in the hearts of future aviators,” Hammond noted.


Tuskegee Airmen historian Ron Brewington’s research indicates that fighter squadron pilots known for the red tails of their North American P–51 Mustangs first took to the sky in Boeing Stearman PT–13 and PT–17 biplane trainers, or a Fairchild PT–19 monoplane at a Moton Field area that now contains the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site. Additional training took place at Tuskegee Army Air Field, several miles northwest of Moton Field.


Brewington pointed out that in addition to the Mustangs with their distinctive tails, the fighter squadrons deployed a variety of aircraft including the Curtiss P–40 Warhawk, the Bell P–39 Airacobra, the Republic P–47 Thunderbolt, and others during missions to support the advance of ground forces in the European theater.



Red Tail Scholarship Foundation participants Torius Moore and Emilia Tolbert taxi a Cessna at Moton Field Municipal Airport. Photo by Josh Cochran.



Aviation students interested in pursuing flight training can apply for a Red Tail scholarship, and if approved, can train for their private pilot certificate in Cessna 172s, Piper Cherokees, and a Cessna 150 converted to a tailwheel configuration. An American Champion Decathlon is pressed into service for tailwheel endorsements and aerobatic training.


A maintenance apprenticeship program is for students who want to pursue aviation technician certification.


Craig Moore was an engineer at Scaled Composites in California, but he was drawn to the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen and left to become the maintenance director for the Red Tail facility. His great-uncle William J. Childs was the head of maintenance for the legendary World War II squadron. “It’s kind of just in my blood that I have a mechanical incl