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Tuskegee Airmen
Take Flight

"WE DO NOT HATE THOSE WE FIGHT,
WE DO NOT LOVE THOSE WE DEFEND"

Initially, the Tuskegee Program was the U.S. Government’s effort to determine if African-American men could be trained to become fighter pilots; many had their doubts. The selection of the Tuskegee Institute, which is located in the deep and segregated south, created controversy.


Once the cadets successfully completed their training at Moton Field, they received additional advanced training at the Tuskegee Institute. They received classroom instruction during the day and flew in the afternoon or vice versa. As training progressed, they were given the opportunity to fly more advanced fighters.


From training to combat, the airplanes, PT17 Stearman Kaydet, P41 Curtiss Warhawk and P51 North American Mustang, were lynchpins in the Airmen’s success overseas and at home.

↓     PT17 Stearman

↓     P40 Curtis Warhawk

↓     P51 Mustang

Tuskegee Airmen Take Flight

"WE DO NOT HATE THOSE WE FIGHT,
WE DO NOT LOVE THOSE WE DEFEND"
Tuskegee Airmen rule

Initially, the Tuskegee Program was the U.S. Government’s effort to determine if African-American men could be trained to become fighter pilots; many had their doubts. The selection of the Tuskegee Institute, which is located in the deep and segregated south, created controversy.

Once the cadets successfully completed their training at Moton Field, they received additional advanced training at the Tuskegee Institute. They received classroom instruction during the day and flew in the afternoon or vice versa. As training progressed, they were given the opportunity to fly more advanced fighters.


From training to combat, the airplanes, PT17 Stearman Kaydet, P41 Curtiss Warhawk and P51 North American Mustang, were lynchpins in the Airmen’s success overseas and at home.


Picture of Spirit of Tuskegee

PT17 Stearman ‘Kaydet’

The PT17 Boeing Stearman Kaydet was the first training plane used to teach cadets to fly. The single engine biplane had a 505 mile range, 106 mph cruising speed, 11,200 ft ceiling height, 32 ft wingspan, 25 ft fuselage and 1,936 lbs weight.


The Stearman Kaydet was agile and forgiving; therefore, it was a good choice to train cadets, most of whom didn’t have previous flight instruction. During in-flight training, the instructor sat in front, while the cadet sat in back with all, but three, instruments blacked out. The cadets were expected to fly using the basic flight instrumentation.


Picture of P40 Curtiss Warhawk

P40 Curtiss ‘Warhawk’

The P40 Curtiss Warhawk fighter plane was the fastest, most agile, and the last plane they’d fly while training. The Warhawk, along with Spitfires, P51 Mustangs and other fighters, led the allies to victory. The single engine monoplane, has a 357 mph maximum speed, a 37 ft wingspan and 31 ft fuselage


Picture of p51 North American Mustang

P51 North American Mustang

The North American Mustang is a long-range single engine monoplane with a 437 mph maximum speed, 37 ft wingspan, 32 ft fuselage and 1,650 mi range. It is considered by many as the fighter plane that won the war. Its sleek profile, powerhouse engine and aggressive nature, evoke strong emotions in most who view it today; almost 60 years since it was last manufactured.


Unlike white fighter squadrons, the Tuskegee Airmen weren’t afforded the opportunity to fly the fighter until well into their tour of duty. A lack of complete support for the unit led to the delay. Once they began flying the plane, the Airmen’s record improved greatly. Around this time, the Airmen’s mythology grew when they were tapped to escort bombers to and from their destinations.


The Mustang’s range and speed, combined with the Airmen who flew it, became a formidable force to be reckoned with.

Designed by Derrick Douglass Designs ©
Designed by Derrick Douglass Designs ©