Tuskegee Airmen Inc. has ordered two Piper Pilot 100i single-engine trainers as it prepares to launch RedTail Flight Academy in September to help provide flight training opportunities to minority youth. In honor of the original Tuskegee Airmen, the academy will offer an aviation scholarship program covering the full cost of flight training.
Plans call for kicking off training with six students and increasing to 30 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.
“Our vision is to create a flight training academy that uses aviation as a developmental tool focusing on STEM, leadership development, and the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen,” said Glendon Fraser, director of the Lee A. Archer Jr. RedTail Youth Flying Program. “The addition of two Piper Pilot 100i aircraft is a key milestone as we work to achieve our vision and meet our goal of providing 30 commercial pilots per year, with zero cost to deserving candidates. Additionally, providing a modern single-engine aircraft equipped with a glass cockpit affords our students a competitive advantage for flying in the contemporary world.”
Helping to launch to program, an anonymous benefactor donated a Sikorsky, believed to be an S-76, that was then sold with the help of Guardian Jet’s brokerage services. Proceeds from the transaction will fund scholarships and the purchase of the initial two training airplanes.
“The Piper Pilot 100i is the ideal initial trainer for this program as it offers the reliability and ruggedness of the PA-28, Garmin advanced avionics, [and] acquisition and operating costs that will enable the RedTail Flight Academy to achieve their scholarship goals,” added Ron Gunnarson, v-p of sales, marketing, and customer support for Piper Aircraft. “We look forward to continuing to support the RedTail Flight Academy and their mission as they advance their training program and develop qualified commercial pilots for the aviation industry."