Tuskegee Airmen Team to Visit Grand Haven

Aug. 21--The community has a chance to get up close with aviation history this weekend.

More than 50 airplanes from Michigan and surrounding states are expected to fly in to Grand Haven's airport Saturday morning.

The event takes flight with the Dawn Patrol Fly-in Pancake Breakfast from 7-11 a.m. at the airport, 16446 Comstock St. The TG-7A Motor Gliders from the Tuskegee Airmen National Historical Museum will provide two demonstrations during the pancakes, eggs, sausage, coffee and juice breakfast.

Admission to the airport is free. The breakfast is $6 per person.

Earle Bares, chairman of the Grand Haven Aviation Association, said motor glider pilots will perform flight formation and general maneuvers, which could include wingtip-to-wingtip. Bares said the pilots might also perform their signature landing move that's similar to playing leap frog.

In addition to the two demonstrations, Bares said other pilots are expected to perform fly-bys or special takeoffs and landings.

Planes will range from general aviation aircrafts to Pipers, and planes from the Grand Haven Experimental Aircraft Aviation Chapter 211.

"If you're interested in aviation and the airport, it's just something that's kind of exciting," Bares said.

Children ages 8-17 will have the opportunity to log flight time and take their aviation interests to a new altitude through the Young Eagles Flights, which are free for families. The young pilots will take a short course about airplanes and flying before soaring above Grand Haven with an experienced pilot. Bares said children will receive a logbook and their flight time will be officially registered.

The Dawn Patrol, which is in its 57th year, attracted more than 650 visitors last year. Bares said they hope to increase crowd sizes to thousands of visitors similar to when the event first started.

Later Saturday, Dr. Brian Smith, president of the Tuskegee Airmen National Historical Museum, will speak about the history of the Tuskegee Airmen who fought in World War II. The free event begins at 2 p.m. in Program Room A of Loutit District Library, 407 Columbus Ave.

Library spokesman Larry Halverson said it's an honor for Smith to speak at the library and in West Michigan.

"The (Tuskegee) Airmen were an asset to winning World War II," he said. "It will be interesting to see what he has to say."

Copyright 2014 - Grand Haven Tribune, Mich.

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