Two 16-year olds from Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum flew into the record books when they set new world records on Saturday, March 15. Kelly Anyadiki became the youngest African-American female to solo in four different aircraft on the same day. Jonathan Strickland established a new record as the youngest African-American male to solo six different airplanes, and a second record for soloing six airplanes plus one helicopter on the same day.
The records were set at Compton Woodley Airport in front a large crowd. Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca was on hand to witness the event as were other members of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, many of whom flew in from across the country to attend the event.
“These new world records the kids set are an example of where the past meets the present and the future!” said Robin Petgrave, founder of Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum.
“What Robin and these kids are doing here would have made my dad very happy,” remarked Chauncey E. Spencer II, whose father was instrumental in getting African Americans approved for flight training in Tuskegee, Ala., during World War II. Spencer flew in from Michigan just to witness the world record flights.
Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum, located on the airport in Compton, Calif., offers aviation-themed afterschool programs for more than 800 children from grades K-12. Youth can take part in projects ranging from washing airplanes to graffiti mitigation. Instead of earning money, they earn “museum dollars,” which they can apply toward flight instruction or continued education in any field.
Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum will soon be opening additional locations across the country, thanks to the support of the Organization of Black Airline Pilots and the Tuskegee Airmen. The Newport News, Va., chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen will open a TAM operation this spring, and the city of Norwalk and the ‘Adopt a Bike’ program in San Bernardino, Calif., have plans to open a TAM as well.
For more information, visit [http://www.tamuseum.org] or call 310-938-2727.