This September, six students will embark on a journey to diversify the aviation industry through the RedTail Flight Academy. After submission of the intense and very extensive scholarship application and a board interview, Anthony Gilbert, Virgin Islands Chapter Tuskegee Airmen Inc. member, was selected and provided with an offer to join the RedTail Flight Academy inaugural class to begin on Sept. 8.
In honor of the original Tuskegee Airmen, the academy offered an aviation scholarship program covering the full cost of flight training. The scholarship has an estimated value of $115,000. This is generously being awarded to deserving individuals who aspire to become aviators.
RTFA volunteers have labored intensely to raise these funds and put the necessary programs and infrastructure in place to provide selected candidates with the opportunity to pursue their dreams. They are asked to give back to the program by donating their time and newly acquired skills to teach and mentor those in a similar situation as themselves.
The launch of the RedTail Flight Academy represents the culmination of years of tireless effort by countless volunteers. The RTFA Vision was to create a state-of-the-art flight training academy that uses aviation as a developmental tool focusing on Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics (STEM), leadership development and the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen.
The scholarship program will include the following:
- All required flight training towards becoming a commercial pilot. Flight training will be given towards the following certificates and rating:
- Private Pilot Certificate
- Remote Pilot Certificate (Drone Operator License)
- Instrument Rating
- Commercial Pilot Certificate – Single engine land
- Multi-engine rating (commercial pilot certificate add-on)
Plans call for kicking off training with six students and increasing to 30 students per year by 2026. Based at New York Stewart International Airport, the academy will provide a Part 141 curriculum that spans 10 months and results in a multi-engine commercial pilot license with an instrument rating for candidates between the ages of 18 and 21.
Anthony Gilbert, a member of the Virgin Islands Chapter Tuskegee Airmen Inc. presently serves as the VICTAI sergeant at arms and the VICTAI Youth Aviation Club president. As he patiently awaited word of his scholarship application status, he recently attended and successfully completed his solo flight training on July 23 at the Luke Weathers Flight Academy in Olive Branch, Miss.
While enrolled in the academy, students receive approximately 40 hours of cursory and condensed ground school detailing federal air regulations, basic meteorology, navigation, basic engine theory, aircraft performance, basic maneuvers, STEM core principles, and the Airman’s Information Manual.
Upon successful completion of the ground school, students receive at least 10 hours of flight time. Basic flight instructions given by Federal Aviation Administration certified instructors consist of aircraft familiarization, preflight procedures, taxiing and parking, straight and level flight, climbs, glides, stalls, slow flight, takeoff and landings, and emergency procedures.
Once Federal Aviation requirements are met, the student is cleared to serve as a “sole manipulator” for their very first time. In addition to previous training, Anthony Gilbert has now logged well over 30 hours of flight training time.
For more information on the VICTAI Youth Aviation Club, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.