Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Red Tails

This year's Wings Over Houston Airshow October 15-16 was headlined by the red jets of the Canadian Snowbirds aerobatic team. 2-minute video zooms in on their unique 9-jet formation.

On display was this P-51 Mustang restored in the Red-Tailed paint scheme of the famous Tuskegee Airmen. Until the 1940's black Americans served in segregated military units and were not allowed to fly aircraft. WW2 brought out the best in America, and a small unit of pilots was trained in Tuskegee, Alabama. Outside the base they still faced the prejudices of the South. The Tuskegee Airmen served with great distinction in North Africa and later Europe, escorting bombers over Berlin. Bomber commanders specifically requested the Red Tails for their bravery. (During WW2 American women were trained as pilots, even fighter pilots, but were not allowed in combat.) In January 2012 will premiere RED TAILS, a big-budget big effects movie produced by George Lucas.

This P-51 Mustang was restored by the Commemorative Air Force starting in 1996. A tragic crash in 2004 necessitated the aircraft be restored again. It can be seen with RISE ABOVE, a travelling exhibit and movie theatre telling the Tuskegee Airmen story. Hopefully the Tuskegee Airmen's story can inspire future generations.

The Six RISE ABOVE Principles:

* Aim High

* Believe in Yourself

* Use Your Brain

* Never Quit

* Be Ready To Go

* Expect To Win

These are principles that even a scientist can follow.