The President of the Red-Tailed Hawks Flying Club, Jesse Hayes, hosted a meeting the weekend of Friday June 29, 2018 thru Sunday July 1, 2018. During the meeting, Major General John H. Bailey II spoke to potential aviators about his experience as a combat pilot during the Vietnam War. General Bailey also spoke about his book Up From The Fields. The Red-Tailed Hawks Flying Club is headquartered in Mukilteo, Washington. The mission of the Black Pilots of America is to introduce and educate undeserved and underrepresented youth to the world of aviation and promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The Red-Tailed Hawks Flying Club was featured In a 2014 article published by the Aircraft Pilots and Owners Association (AOPA).
The academy originally started in 1971 at Moton Field in Tuskegee, Alabama, and has trained more than 700 youths, said Hayes. “Our FAA certified instructors acquaint, motivate, and encourage cadets to pursue aviation related careers. Many have become military and civilian aircrew members, air traffic controllers, aerospace engineers, and aircraft technicians.” The club’s main goal, in alignment with Black Pilots of America, is to encourage more African-Americans to become pilots, said Hayes. “The numbers speak for themselves. Only 2 percent of pilots are black. And that number is generous because it’s hard to get real statistics,” he said. “The aerospace industry is a $2 trillion a year business and our community isn’t getting its share of that pie.” Hayes said that when he moved to the Seattle area, he learned that African-Americans only made up 4 percent of the community. “But there’s an unimaginably rich aviation community here, represented by the Navy, Air Force, Army, Boeing, and Alaska Airlines,” he said. “But yet our demographic was being left out. People only know what they know, and if they’re not exposed to things like aviation, they won’t see the opportunities available.” While the club doesn’t have a fleet of aircraft, there are members who own their own airplanes, said Hayes. “We mirror the BPA membership and bylaws. Dues for regular members is $70 a month, which covers anyone with any type of FAA or military aviation certificate,” he said. “Student membership is $20 for anyone in school through college.” The whole point of the club is to offer members camaraderie and support, said Hayes. “We also work to attract youth into aviation. In our youth program, every month we get together to teach them about aviation and get them shored up with knowledge hoping they will participate in the summer academy,” he said. “We also partner with our local Experimental Aviation Association chapter to connect youths with ground school and scholarship opportunities.” The club is looking to partner with any other organizations to tap into all resources available to help young people learn how to fly, said Hayes.