By Carla Thomas
The Bay Area Black Pilots Association held its annual Christmas fundraiser banquet on Saturday, Dec. 8 at the Doubletree Hotel in the Berkeley Marina.
“Once you get hooked on flying, there’s no turning back,” said BABPA President Greg Scott, who greeted nearly 100 people at the banquet.
“We have a great network here to support our fundraising, love of flying and involving children,” banquet chair Margie Brown said.
The pilots association works to keep the spirit of flight alive in the African American community as well as sharing the historical impact Blacks have had on the aviation industry.
“We formed this organization because of the systematic exclusion of African American pilots from the professional aviation community,” said Scott.
Keynote speaker Joyce Jackson Dixon provided a video presentation celebrating the life of her father, Lewis A. Jackson, director of Flight Training at Moton Field for the renowned Tuskegee Airmen.
“I grew up watching my father design and build several airplanes while he helped found the county airport through his efforts in general aviation,” she said. The airport is now named the Lewis A. Jackson Regional Airport.
Jackson was also the author of “The New Fundamentals of Life,” chronicling his two passions; flying and teaching.
While keeping her father’s legacy alive, Dixon serves on the Board of Directors of the Museum of the African Diaspora.
Also attending the fundraiser was a living legend, 90-year-old Clyde Grimes, an original Tuskegee Airman.
“I was proud to serve my country, and the recent recognitions have been greatly appreciated,” he said.
The pilots association visits schools, churches, and social events and hosts an annual Airport Open House, partnering with other aviation and youth organizations. For more information visit www.babpa.com/