Youth in Aviation
(by Yvonne McGee)
The ECCTAI Youth in Aviation Program (YIAP) started as an idea
from Bill Broadwater and Lonely Eagle Ted Robinson back in 1996.
Keeping with the chapter's basic charge, to continue the Tuskegee
legacy and inspire minority youth, they formed the committee and
the program design came together. YIAP is essentially divided into
Level One is designed to expose high school students (ages
15 - 19) to possible careers in aviation through discussions, activities,
guest speakers and fieldtrips. Students meet at College Park Airport
(where free classroom space has been generously donated since the
beginning) for 5 all-day sessions on consecutive Saturdays in the
fall. The sessions cover aviation history, career overviews and
basics of flight, air traffic control, maintenance and a small aircraft
Level Two is designed for the serious student who has decided
he/she is interested in becoming a pilot. For those who qualify,
ground school is conducted for 8 - 10 weekends to enable the student
to pass the FAA written exam (a prerequisite to Level Three). This
is conducted in late winter/early spring as to not interfere with
finals around the end of the school year.
Level Three is the flying portion of the program and is
held during the summer. For the students who have completed Level
Two successfully, they receive at least 15 hours of flight instruction
through Herb Jones' Metropolitan Aviation Flight School at Hyde
Field in Clinton, Maryland. The hope is that they will solo within
The committee decided early on that it was better to help several
students to at least solo (with the hope they would be inspired
to continue) as opposed to just financing one student all the way
to receiving a pilot license.
The sense of "comradery" the Tuskegee Airmen experienced could
not be achieved by focusing on just one student to completion. One
year there were enough funds to support a student to licensing,
and the student has continued to pursue a career in aviation at
From the beginning, most of our students have come to the program
by word of mouth and through referrals from Rick Jones' summer aviation
Some of YIAP short and long term goals are:
- To provide more up-to-date teaching materials (simulators etc.)
for Level II & III students.
- To offer Level II and III type programs for students not interested
in flying. (Become a stronger conduit to maintenance, ATC, weather,
- To have enough funding for all Level III students to receive
- Compile and publish booklets for conducting/teaching Level
I for new members and other TAI chapters to use.
- Discover ways to work with other aviation organizations so
we may use funds for maximum effect.