Metro-East News

Minority youth to have opportunity to fly plane at downtown airport

Youngsters interested in flying will have a chance to give it a try on Saturday at the St. Louis Downtown Airport in Cahokia.

The Legacy Flight Academy is scheduled to bring its Eyes Above the Horizon program to the airport to encourage minority youngsters to go into an aerospace career.

During the event, participating students will be able to go on a short flight, and briefly take controls of the plane, in a basic training aircraft flown by a licensed pilot, organizers said.

The day will be made up of several hour-long sessions with a focus on team building and will include a luncheon with a keynote motivational speaker, organizers said.

People who work in aviation also are scheduled to lead discussions around academic preparation and the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics education, organizers said. They are also set to discuss opportunities in military and civilian aviation.

The event is scheduled to include a tour of the Greater St. Louis Air and Space Museum and an aircraft rescue fire fighting truck demonstration.

“We’re hoping for a terrific turn out from students in the St. Louis region and across the Midwest and are confident the participants will be inspired and motivated to excel in their academic and career endeavors,” said Erick Dahl, director of St. Louis Downtown Airport.

The Eyes Above the Horizon program started in 2015 to give under-represented minority youth an opportunity to develop an interest in aerospace through flight introductions, mentorship and immersion into the history of the Tuskegee Airmen.

“Through interactive activities and examples of the original Tuskegee Airmen and present role models, we educate our students on the critical importance of positive character values,” said Major Kenyatta Ruffin, founder of the Legacy Flight Academy.

The program is free and open to minority youth who are between 10 and 19 years old, but prior registration and parental permission are required. To sign up, go to

The event is scheduled to run from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the St. Louis Downtown Airport at 6100 Archview Drive in Cahokia.