Fantasy of Flight in Polk City, Fla., will celebrate Black History Month in February with the Tuskegee Airmen, who will share their personal stories with the public during a three-day limited engagement event called “They Dared to Fly.”
The Tuskegee Airmen tribute is part of Fantasy of Flight’s Third Annual Legends & Legacies Symposium Series. For three days, guests can experience firsthand what it was like to serve as a pilot in the military during segregated America. The pilots will share stories about their military service and success despite operating in these segregated units. Of the original group of nearly 1,000 trained pilots and 15,000 ground personnel that made up the Tuskegee Airmen, roughly 100 pilots and 200 ground crew are alive today.
“They Dared to Fly” will be held Thurs., Feb. 10, through Sat., Feb. 12, and feature several open-forum/question-and-answer sessions as well as meet/greet autograph signings with five of the original Tuskegee Airmen: Hiram E. Mann, Raymond Cassagnol, George E. Hardy, Roscoe C. Brown, Jr., and Leo. R. Gray. The symposiums are included in the attraction’s general admission price.
Roy Archer, son of airman Lee Andrew Archer, Jr., will retell his father’s story during the series. Archer dreamed of becoming a fighter pilot at an early age. That dream became a reality when he joined the U.S. Army Air Corps’ and became one of the Tuskegee Airmen. During the 169 combat missions he flew in the European Theater, Archer was credited with downing five enemy aircraft, earning him the coveted title of “Ace.” Lee Archer passed away last year.
In addition to the symposium, Fantasy of Flight will host a special, reservations-only luncheon with limited seating. The luncheon will be held Fri., Feb. 11, at noon at the Orlampa Conference Center at Fantasy of Flight. Tickets are $65 plus tax per person and reservations are required.
Finally, 4th through 12th grade students are invited to participate in a contest writing essays that focus on leadership, excellence, advocacy, and determination, virtues that helped the Tuskegee Airmen achieve success or about how these principles can help students achieve goals. Cash prizes are available, with entries due on or before 5 p.m., Mon., Feb. 28.
For more information: FantasyOfFlight.com