Criteria for the Spirit of Flight Award

  • Awarded annually to an organization that has made a substantial contribution to aviation in Illinois.

  • The organization's activities must be Illinois based and continuous over a long period of time.

  • The organization's member activities must be above and beyond that of normal paid employment and exhibit a high degree of excellence in their accomplishment.

Significance of the Spirit of Flight Award

Election to the Illinois Aviation Hall Of Fame is the highest honor that can be attained by people whose principal aviation activity and experience is Illinois based. It is awarded to people of good character for their excellence over a period of time. All of those selected have participated in community service, which reflects the character that earns IAHOF honors.

2011 Recipient:

In December, 1941, the United States entered World War IIís European Theatre to join the Allied forces of Freedom and Democracy against the Nazi ideals of ethnic and racial purity. One of the Allies strongest weapons was the 332nd Fighter Group, 450 Fighter Pilots, known as the Tuskegee Airmen because they were trained at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. They were all black.

The Chicago ďDODOĒ Chapter, Tuskegee Airmen Inc. is a not for profit organization that makes public informational appearances, offers scholarships to deserving high school seniors and free introductory flights to youngsters between the ages of 8 and 17 in conjunction with the Experimental Aircraft Association Young Eagles Program on the second Saturday of every month ( weather permitting ) at the Gary-Chicago Airport.

Tuskegee Fighter Pilot
Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagle
Tuskegee Airmem Group Photo

Our program began in 1994 at Meigs Field, where we helped to give approximately 8000 Young Eagle flights and since the destruction of Meigs Field in 2003, we have continued our program at Gary Airport and have flown 2712 youngsters with an average of 45 youngsters flown each month a rally was conducted.

KIDS! Fly with the Young Eagles! The Young Eagles Rally is on the 2nd Saturday of every month at the Gary- Chicago Airport beginning at 9:00 AM at the terminal building. Call the hotline (312-409-5621) on the day of the Rally to confirm that the weather conditions are conductive to recreational flying. For details contact Ken Rapier the Young Eagles Chief Pilot at:

The Chicago Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen has announced itís 2011 Educational assistance Program (EAP). The objective of the EAP is to provide economic assistance to students wishing to continue their personal and academic growth by attending accredited post secondary institutions of higher learning. The educational Assistance program presents financial awards to students who emulate and honor the Tuskegee Airmen. Successful candidates are students whose accomplishments model the same characteristics demonstrated by the Tuskegee Airmen, such as discipline, education, excellence, perseverance and achievement.

The award also supports students whose interest in aviation deserves recognition and mentoring.

For more information regarding the Tuskegee Airmen of Chicago visit their web-site at