Bronze Eagles Inspire Youth to Take Flight at Ellington Field
February 1, 2019
There are many ways to make a difference in the lives of young people—but perhaps none as unique as what the Bronze Eagles Flying Club of Texas was able to do for nearly 100 youth at Ellington Field. These kids, in addition to hearing from a group of inspiring leaders, touring the control tower, seeing a military jet close up and other aircraft models and displays, took to the skies at the annual Dr. Jesse Hayes Fly-In. The participants were flown in four different types of airplanes: twin-engine Beechcraft Barons and a Mooney, Grumman Cheetah and Cesena 172.
While the Bronze Eagles aim to encourage students to stay in school and on a fulfilling life path, this event takes their mission one step further by inspiring the attendees to change the trajectory of their futures, with aviation as one amazing opportunity presented.
Before the day was done, the kids were inspired by guest presenters such as retired astronaut and Lockheed Martin executive Tony Antonelli, Lockheed Martin’s Orion Deputy Program Manager Laurence Price, F-16 pilot Lt. Colonel Ernie Mayfield and NBA great and former Houston Rockets head coach Don Chaney. Also supporting the effort were some of NASA Johnson Space Center’s own: Darrel Gaines, State Chaplain of the Bronze Eagles Flying Club of Texas; Darryl Smith, who taught the kids the aviation merit badge; and Willie Williams and Dr. Pamela Dinkins, who took time to volunteer and interact with the attendees. Some NASA interns, too, were in attendance to take in the unique flying experience and get more exposure to the aviation world.
The kids left Ellington enthused by their immersive experience, and with NASA goodie bags and handouts to boot. More than a dozen students around the United States also received two free weeks of Ground School and Flight Training. Some even soloed, and others passed the Federal Aviation Administration written exam during the two-week period.
See images from the Dr. Jesse Hayes Fly-In below.