2017 Memorial Day Fly In

50th Anniversary Celebration

Sponsored by the City of Tuskegee & Golden Eagle Aviation

The Annual Memorial Day Fly-in returns this year with numerous vintage, homebuilt aircraft, airplane rides, warbirds, lots of aviation enthusiasts, food & tours of museum on the field of The Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site.

May 19-20, 2017


Gates open at 9 a.m. on Saturday
Admission is FREE!

1721 General B.O. Davis Jr. Drive, Tuskegee, AL

For more information, call (334) 727-6485

Download the Flyer

Bill Winston: Pastor and Aviator

By Tom Holmes
Rev. Dr. Bill Winston: Pastor and Decorated Aviator

Rev. Bill Winston is known in parts of this country, and even in other parts of the world, for being the pastor of a 20,000-member congregation in Forest Park named Living Word Christian Center, but not many know that he flew 250 missions in an F4 Phantom jet during the Vietnam War.

His Distinguished Flying Cross Medal hangs in a frame on the wall of his office at Living Word. According to the Office of the Secretary of the Army, the medal is awarded “to any person … who has distinguished himself or herself by heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight.”

Winston is proud of that recognition of the service he gave his country. But equally important, he is proud to be connected to a storied group called the Tuskegee Airmen, a group for which he delivered the invocation at their 75th anniversary gathering at the Bessie Coleman Aviation Facility in Gary, Indiana on Aug. 27 (and the 40th anniversary celebration of the Chicago “DODO” Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen Inc.).

The Tuskegee Airmen began as an experiment in 1941, during World War II. Jim Crow Laws were still in effect in many states and the U.S. Armed Forces were still segregated. Black men had been excluded from flying aircraft in what was then the Army Air Corps, but the War Dept. needed pilots.

The Tuskegee Airmen were an experiment to see if “negroes” were mentally fit to fly airplanes. The group of African Americans who assembled at Moton Field in the city of Tuskegee, Alabama not only proved themselves capable but served with distinction in World War II. The last flyer in that group recently died in his 90s.

Winston was a boy growing up in Tuskegee at that time and attended the Tuskegee University lab school, called the Chambliss Children’s House, with many of the children of the African American men in training. His father was a medical technologist at the large Veterans Hospital in town. He remembers his dad taking him out to Moton Field on the weekends to watch the pilots training to fly. Chappie James, who eventually became the first black four-star general, was part of that pioneering group, and his daughter Denise was a classmate of Winston in the second grade.

It was only natural, therefore, for Winston to follow in the footsteps of these role models. He joined the ROTC program as a student at Tuskegee University and flew jet fighter-bombers for the Air Force during the Vietnam War.

“That experience,” said Living Word’s pastor, “set the course for the rest of my life. It’s through the discipline, the excellence and the proficiency required to be a pilot that I went on to win sales awards at IBM and then to be pastor of Living Word. In ministry, all of what I learned in the Air Force gets applied because you have to plan your mission and set goals in ministry as well as in the military.

Teamwork, he said, was one of the most important lessons he learned as a pilot. The two-man crew in the F4 requires teamwork in itself, but Winston listed all the people he depended on to successfully complete his missions: people to take care of his helmet and flight gear, share intelligence with him before the flight, take care of the airplane, make repairs if something malfunctioned, download the onboard cameras, and debrief him.

He bombed targets such as bridges and roads in an attempt to prevent the North Vietnamese from getting troops and supplies into the South. Sometimes he would fly support for B52 bombers, but his favorite missions were when he was called to aid servicemen who were caught in ‘situations.’

“We would fly missions,” he recalled, “where we would have to liberate our guys by keeping the bad guys away until the ‘Jolly Greens’ would come in and pick them up.”

Now Winston is the pastor of a megachurch, but in his flying days he was not close to God. He said that as a child he had gone to church but later got away from it. Like a lot of people in the military he referred to God as the man upstairs but didn’t have the kind of relationship that he developed following a profound religious experience while working in sales with IBM years later.

What lessons could society learn from what he experienced in the military?

“What we have today is a blaming society,” he replied. “When I came out of the military, I was disciplined, and I see people now who look like me, but they don’t seem to value what they have. In the Air Force, I put my life on the line and saw how a person could get shot down.

“Today it’s almost like people have removed God from the picture. They say they make their own decisions and make their own standards and it’s led to anarchy. It’s caused a lot by the breakdown of the family. There’s not this discipline that comes from the home, and you have kids raising kids — especially in the black community.”

What he preaches at Living Word and what has attracted a large following of people is an emphasis on fundamentals: committed marriages, stressing morality and discipline in the home, going to church every Sunday, and replacing a feeling of entitlement with a sense that “I am responsible for my own life.”

“Everybody has potential,” Winston said, “and the way potential is manifested is through work and through faith. We have to realize that wherever we are now, there’s more that’s in us. We have to keep going. I want encourage people not to stop where they are now.”

Reprinted with the permission from Tom Holmes on behalf of the Forest Park Review.
The Forest Park Review. All rights reserved. Visit http://www.forestparkreview.com/ on the web.

Aviation Director, Melody Winston Inspires Chicago Teens to “Aim High”

melody-winstonForest Park, Ill. (October 25, 2016) – “Aim High” was the inspiring message delivered by Melody Winston, the vice president of Golden Eagle Aviation (GEA) to over 300 Chicago public high school students who attended GLOBAL STEAM, a one-day business forum hosted by the Common Ground Foundation and held at Google’s Chicago headquarters in the West Loop.

Winston was among several high-profile corporate professionals and mentors who shared their career advice and experiences in the areas of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, or “S.T.E.A.M.”  The conference also shared career advice from the professions of sports, travel and transportation, education and entertainment, advertising and marketing.

“I commend Common Ground for organizing this important forum to provide students with quality training, education and knowledge about the exciting opportunities in these highly competitive and well-paying fields,” said Winston.  “Our young people, especially in Chicago, need to know that they have a bright future, and that we, from across many disciplines, are here to help them succeed. It was an honor to be a part of GLOBAL STEAM’s effort to excite and empower Chicago-area students to make a difference in their classrooms, communities and the world.”

Ms. Winston has a longstanding commitment to help and encourage young people to aim high and soar for the stars. Each summer at historic Moton Field in Tuskegee, Alabama, Golden Eagle Aviation, an FBO or private jet terminal, partners with the Legacy Flight Academy (LFA), a non-profit organization that conducts character-based youth aviation programs that draw upon the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen. High school students from across the country come to Tuskegee to learn to fly during a two-week flight camp. GEA was founded by Melody’s father, Dr. Bill Winston, a highly decorated former US Air Force fighter pilot and the senior pastor and global ministry leader of a Chicago-area megachurch. 

The founder of the Common Ground Foundation is hip-hop recording artist and movie producer COMMON, who is from Chicago. GLOBAL STEAM was sponsored by Google and the Black McDonald’s Owner/Operator Association (BMOA) of Chicagoland and NW Indiana. For information about Golden Eagle Aviation visit goldeneagleaviation.com. For information about the Legacy Flight Academy summer youth aviation program visit legacyflightacademy.org.



Media Contact
Kim Clay, Director of Communications
(708) 697-6180 or kclay@livingwd.org

2nd Annual Legacy Open House

Both open houses will showcase the exciting and heroic exploits of the Tuskegee Airmen and bring the thrill of flight to visitors of all ages. Students who dream of flying or desire to explore the many career opportunities in aviation and aeronautics are encouraged to come out and have some fun. They will also learn about next year’s Legacy Flight Academy programs.

Thursday, July 14th

Montgomery Regional Air National Guard Base
2 p.m. – 7 p.m.
5187 Selma Highway, Montgomery, AL, 36108
No backpacks, coolers or pets permitted at this event site

Saturday, July 16th

Moton Field, Tuskegee, Alabama
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
1721 Gen. Benjamin O. Davis Drive, Tuskegee, AL, 36083

real plane& exhibit

Experience “Rise Above”

A 160-degree panoramic action-packed movie showcasing the heroic exploits of the Tuskegee Airmen, created by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Adam White of Hemlock Films.

See a P-51D Mustang “Red Nose” Flyer

Up close and personal

Watch an aerial performance

of F-16 Fighting Falcons

Discover career possibilities in aviation and aerospace

with the U.S. Air Force, National Guard and the Reserves

Play and win

Prizes, games and giveaways. Food vendors available.


Visit legacyflightacademy.org or facebook.com/TuskegeeOpenHouse for more details.

49th Annual Tuskegee Airmen Memorial Day Fly-In Weekend

10603886_GFamilies, pilots, military veterans and aviation enthusiasts are gearing-up to enjoy the 49th Annual Memorial Day Fly-In on Friday, May 20 and Saturday, May 21 at Moton Field, the historic World War II training ground of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen. This popular event provides a fun and exciting way for kids and adults to experience the thrill of flight and learn more about our country’s military and aviation history! Kick-off your summer fun with this spectacular Fly-In.

On Friday, May 20, begin your weekend celebrating with the City of Tuskegee, Friends of Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site, Inc., and the National Park Service, as they commemorate the Tuskegee Airmen’s heroic exploits and their lifetime legacy of honor, courage, valor, excellence and determination. This special day of commemoration activities include: brunch (ticket required), Gospel concert, hangar tours, candlelight memorial service and an awards dinner and presentation (ticket also required for this event).

On Saturday, May 21, Enjoy FREE Fly-In activities for the entire family:

  • Sky-diving demos
  • Airplane rides
  • Water slides
  • Aeronautic displays and Airmen movies
  • Tour of the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site and more

Location and directions:
Tuskegge Airmen National Historic Site, 1616 Chappie James Avenue

Reviving Tuskegee’s spirit of aviation

 gea-magazineOriginally published in The AutoPilot Magazine Southeast edition.

Growing up in Tuskegee, Alabama, at a time when the Tuskegee Airmen trained at Moton Field Municipal Airport during World War II, Dr. Bill Winston took his first ride in a Piper Cub. As the nose of the aircraft headed toward the clouds, “I knew that this was one of the things that I was supposed to do in life.”

The same pilot that trained the Tuskegee Airmen, Alfred “Chief’ Anderson, trained Winston who then went on to serve 7 years in the Air Force flying F-4 Phantom jets in numerous combat missions in Vietnam and receiving numerous awards for his superior flight skills and competitions, including the Distinguished Flying Cross. He still holds his commercial license. But after he returned to his hometown and saw the economic trauma that it was in, he decided to use his pilot expertise to spearhead Golden Eagle Aviation, an FBO. His mission is to revitalize Tuskegee by providing employment for potentially hundreds of workers.

Winston says when he was young, the Army airbase in Tuskegee employed 15,000 people and it was the largest payroll of African-Americans in the world. “I’ve seen the city flourish and if we can start a wave of new economic growth, we can help rebuild the city.”

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