Sky’s the limit: Golden Eagles flying group teaches black youth about aviation

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NEW ORLEANS -- It's something every parent tries to instill in a child: Aim high, and the sky's the limit for what you can accomplish.

We found a group in New Orleans doing just that.

The Golden Eagles have been adding wings to the imaginations of children since the group's inception in 1993. It's one of the 20-plus chapters of Black Pilots of America, an organization striving to put the steering wheels into the hands of tomorrow.

"Growing up, I didn't know any pilots that were African American, and it shows the kids you can do anything," Golden Eagles Vice President Cleon Walker said.

Golden Eagles members range in age from the single digits to the young at heart, including retired Col. Palmer Sullins, who first learned about flying from Chief Charles Alfred Anderson, historically known as the father of black aviation.

"I walked up behind him and I kind of pulled his coattail, and he said, 'You want to fly?' and that's how it started so early," Sullins recalled.

The Golden Eagles take part in four major events each year, including the summer flight program in Houston, where children take part in  a two-week class and 10 hours of flying. Their teachers are the men who were once in their shoes.

"Every opportunity we get to expose them to aviation, by bringing them out to the Lakefront and taking them for a ride in the airplane, extends the dreams, and you never know who you are going to touch," Sullins said.

The Golden Eagles meet at the Lakefront Airport the third Saturday of every month. You can learn more here.


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