POLK CITY, Fla. (Dec. 13, 2011) - Fantasy of Flight, Central Florida's premier aviation attraction, has already made plans to celebrate Black History Month in February 2012 in a memorable way by kicking off its Fourth Annual Legends & Legacies Symposium Series with a visit from famed World War II heroes, the Tuskegee Airmen, as well as a student essay contest honoring the aviators' leadership, excellence, advocacy and determination (LEAD).
During this unforgettable, three-day limited engagement event called "They Dared to Fly," the Tuskegee Airmen, the nation's first African-American military aviators, will share their personal stories of what it was like to serve as a pilot in the military during segregated America. The pilots will share stories about their military service and unprecedented success despite operating in segregated units. Of the original group of nearly 1,000 trained pilots and 15,000 ground personnel that made up the Tuskegee Airmen, roughly 50 pilots and 200 ground crew are alive today.
"They Dared to Fly" will be held Thurs., Feb. 9 through Sat., Feb. 11 and will feature several open-forum/question-and-answer sessions as well as meet/greet autograph signings with several of the original Tuskegee Airmen. Symposium events are included in the attraction's general admission price and are free for annual pass holders.
In tribute to the Tuskegee, students in grades 4-12 are invited to participate in the "They Dared to Fly" essay contest. Using the principles of LEAD (leadership, excellence, advocacy and determination), students should describe how the Tuskegee Airmen achieved success or describe how they can use these values to achieve a personal goal of their own. Entries will be judged on overall content, including spelling, grammar, punctuation, legibility and penmanship (as applicable).
Prizes will be awarded to the first, second and third place winners in each grade category (grades 4-5, 6-8 and 9-12). First place will be awarded $100; second place, $75 and third place, $50. Entries must be postmarked or hand delivered prior to 5 p.m. on or before February 20, 2012. Winners will be announced March 16, 2012. Additional rules apply; for more information, visit www.fantasyofflight.com.
"It is an honor and a privilege to welcome back the Tuskegee Airmen and their families to Fantasy of Flight for our Fourth Annual Legends & Legacies Symposium Series," said Kim Long, General Manager. "We couldn't think of a better way to honor the Tuskegee Airmen and celebrate Black History Month than by engaging students to learn more about these brave aviators and express what they've learned through written essays. Our mission has always been to encourage young people to pursue their own dreams, and the Tuskegee Airmen are excellent role models in the values of leadership, excellence, advocacy and determination."
The deadline for the essay contest is set for Feb. 20, 2012 in order to allow students and student groups to attend the Tuskegee Airmen's "They Dared to Fly" symposium Feb. 9-11, and write about what they have learned.
Fantasy of Flight's permanent multi-media Tuskegee Airmen exhibit and vintage aircraft collection, including the P-51C Mustang, provides the perfect backdrop for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet the brave men who fought America's enemies abroad while enduring racism at home.
The compelling and historically significant Fourth Annual Legends & Legacies Symposium Series brings to life the experiences of some of America's most courageous aviators through permanent and semi-permanent exhibits, real aircraft, and most importantly, their own personal stories and interactions with guests. In addition, the series will include heroes from WWII and a newly created program reflecting on Vietnam.
The six topics scheduled for 2012 include: "They Dared to Fly: Featuring the Tuskegee Airmen" in honor of National Black History Month, Feb. 9-11; "Breaking All Barriers: Amazing Women in American History," in honor of National Women's History Month, March 2-3; "Unspoken Valor: The Bomber Crews of World War II," April 13-14; "D-Day: The Invasion of Normandy," May 11-12; "Reflections of Vietnam," June 8-9 and "Letters Home: Love, Courage & Survival," Oct. 12-13.
Symposium events are included in the price of Fantasy of Flight general admission and are free for annual pass holders. General admission is $28.95 for adults, $26.95 for seniors ages 55 and over and $14.95 for children, ages 6-12, plus 7 percent sales tax. Children five and under are free with full paying adult. Group rates are available for groups of 15 or more; for more information, call 863-984-3500, ext. 220. For general information, visit www.fantasyofflight.com.
Fantasy of Flight is Central Florida's premier aviation-themed attraction showcasing vintage aircraft from the world's largest private collection; themed immersion experiences; interactive exhibits; a tram tour of aircraft maintenance areas; Restoration and Backlot tours; Fun with Flight center for families and the country's only Aerial Demonstration of the Day (weather permitting) featuring a vintage plane. General admission also includes The Tuskegee Airmen - They Dared to Fly exhibit; the multimedia tribute to the WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) - A Passionate Pursuit, a walking audio tour and many special events throughout the year.
New at Fantasy of Flight this year is Wing WalkAir, a thrilling outdoor attraction featuring a 600-foot zip line suspended four stories above water and a three-level ropes course complete with 33 midair challenges to be performed while tethered to an overhead line at heights of up to 45 feet. Ideal for families, couples, student/youth groups or corporate groups seeking teambuilding opportunities, Wing WalkAir is the first attraction of its kind in Polk County, located midway between Tampa and Orlando. Admission is $22 for the zip line and ropes course or $15 for the zip line and $12 for the ropes course when purchased separately. Group rates are available. Fantasy of Flight admission is not required for entry to Wing WalkAir.
Hours are 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily. General admission is $28.95 for adults, $26.95 for seniors ages 55 and over and $14.95 for children, ages 6-12, plus 7 percent sales tax. Annual passes are available for $69.95 for adults, $39.95 for children ages 6-12, plus 7 percent sales tax, and are good for one year from the date of purchase. Biplane rides, through Waldo Wright's Flying Service, and hot air balloon rides, are available for an extra charge. For more information about Fantasy of Flight, call 863-984-3500 or visit www.fantasyofflight.com.