Flying is just part of the attraction Doug Rozendaal has to aviation. Sharing the history behind it is another.
The Clear Lake pilot is in Oshkosh, Wis. this week, participating in the famed EAA AirVenture Oshkosh show. He will be flying three of the seven days of the 2012 event, twice in a program saluting aviation icon Bob Hoover and once as part of the Red Tail Squadron which pays tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen.
“It’s our responsibility to take these airplanes out and let the public learn about them-- their importance in our history,” said Rozendaal.
Last year Rozendaal was pleased to debut the Commemorative Air Force’s Red Tail Squadron Rise Above Traveling Exhibit to AirVenture. The exhibit pays tribute to the famed Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first African-American pilots who flew with distinction during World War II.
“A lot of people had input into this exhibit,” said Rozendaal, Red Tail project leader. “We wanted to do more than just the airplane hook or the Tuskegee Airmen story. The objective is really to get youth to think how they can rise above adversity in their own lives.”
The story focuses on how the Tuskegee Airmen persevered to “rise above” all of the obstacles they faced as they became America’s first black military pilots. The story of the thousands of other black Americans who served with the Airmen as their support crews is also featured. The exhibit was designed to be mobile and accompany air shows that feature the Squadron’s $1 million, restored P-51C Mustang named Tuskegee Airmen.
The exhibit is based in a 53-foot trailer with double slide-outs creating a 24-foot by 40-foot movie theater inside with 170-degree screen. The air-conditioned space includes bench seating to accommodate about 40 adults while watching the story of the Tuskegee Airmen. During AirVenture, a 13-minute film is shown continually throughout the day. A 35-minute film has also been produced for schools, he added.
The potential for sharing the inspiring story of the Tuskegee Airmen is great at Oshkosh. More than 500,000 people from more than 60 countries attend AirVenture at Wittman Regional Airport each year.
This year Rozendaal has been instrumental in bringing in 10 Tuskegee Airmen to AirVenture. The event will also include the presentation of the EAA Freedom of Flight Award to Col. Charles McGee, a member of the famed Tuskegee Airmen. The award is the organization’s highest honor, bestowed annually to an individual whose contributions to aviation closely mirror the integrity, entrepreneurship, and innovativeness of EAA members. McGee flew a total of 137 - Read More Via e-Edition