Kids prepare for world record tribute to Tuskegee Airmen

Young people at Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum (TAM) in Compton, Calif., are celebrating Black History Month by preparing to set new aviation world records.

Kelly Anyadiki, 16, will attempt to become the youngest African American female to solo seven airplanes on the same day, while 16-year old Jonathan Strickland will attempt to solo seven airplanes and two helicopters.

Anyadiki will attempt to fly solo in a Piper Tomahawk, a Cessna 150, a Cessna 172 RG, a Cessna 152, a Piper Cherokee 140, a Cessna 172 SP and a Piper Warrior. Strickland will attempt to solo in each of those aircraft, plus Robinson R-22 and R-44 helicopters.

The world record attempts, in tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen, are scheduled to take place at Compton Woodley Airport March 15.

“The kids want to tell the world that the heritage of the Tuskegee Airmen is alive and well in a new generation,” says TAM founder Robin Petgrave.

The museum offers aviation-themed after-school programs for more than 800 youngsters who have the opportunity to earn “museum bucks” through a variety of projects, ranging from washing airplanes to cleaning up graffiti. The “bucks” are applied toward flight instruction.

The museum plans to open additional locations across the country, thanks to support from the Organization of Black Airline Pilots and the Tuskegee Airmen, according to Petgrave. The Newport News, Virginia, chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen will open a location this spring. Plans are also in the works for locations in Norwalk and San Bernardino, Calif.

For more information: 310-938-2727

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