Exhibit, film in Pompano honors Tuskegee Airmen
The Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military pilots and support personnel, were among the most successful aviator units in World War II – battling both enemy fighter planes and racial discrimination.
Flying P-51 Mustangs with red tails, they destroyed or damaged 409 German aircraft and more than 950 vehicles on the ground in North Africa and Italy.
To honor their achievements, the non-profit Commemorative Air Force Red Tail Squadron will bring “Rise Above,” a free exhibit featuring a documentary movie and a P-51 Mustang, to Pompano Beach Airpark Wednesday through Saturday.
About 600 children from Broward schools, Boys and Girls Clubs and vocational schools already are signed up for the event at Paul Kramer’s Learn to Fly Center, 1101 NE 10th St.
The general public is invited to attend at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.
“The Tuskegee Airmen embodied the best of America, self-motivation, personal responsibility, hard work, strong personal ethics, courage and a winning spirit,” said Fred Perry, CEO of the Learn to Fly Center, which is southeast of the Goodyear airship hangar.
At the core of the traveling exhibit is a fully functional movie theater housed inside a 53-foot semi-trailer truck with expandable sides, a ramp and hydraulic lift.
The theater, which can accommodate 30 visitors per show, will feature the original film, “Rise Above,” recounting the challenges the Tuskegee Airman faced to become Army Air Corps pilots in the early 1940s.
Thanks to a 160-degree panoramic screen, the film creates the feeling of being in a cockpit, soaring above the clouds in the P-51C Mustang.
Henley said the movie is scheduled to be shown every hour on Saturday – but noted all the seats in the theater must be filled for it to run.
“The exhibit is truly a one-of-a-kind adventure,” said Brad Lang, leader of the Commemorative Air Force Red Tail Squadron. “Kids and adults walk away from this experience with a greater understanding of the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen.”
Schools and groups seeking to attend the Rise Above traveling exhibit should contact Christina Henley at the Learn to Fly Center at 954-290-2772.
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