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Black Pilots of America Return to Pine Bluff, Arkansas for "Operation Skyhook"

Updated: Jul 10, 2023

The Black Pilots of America will return to Pine Bluff, Arkansas May 25-29, 2023 for their Memorial Day Fly-In, "Operation Skyhook."


Make plans now to join the fun in Pine Bluff, Arkansas as member chapters of the Black Pilots of America fly in from across the United States into Pine Bluff's Grider Field Municipal Airport for a weekend of fun, aviation camaraderie, and serious flying competition.


The following scheduled activities are open to the public with FREE ADMISSION:


Friday, May 26, 2023:

9:30 a.m. - Welcome to the City

11:15 a.m. - Flour Bomb Drop Competition Begins

3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. - Free "Young Eagles" Airplane Rides (Rides will begin

immediately following daily competition.)


Saturday, May 27, 2023:

10:00 a.m. - Pilot Proficiency Begins

2:00 p.m. - Formation Begins

3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. - Free "Young Eagles" Airplane Rides (Rides will begin

immediately following daily competition.)


Sunday, May 28, 2023:

10:00 a.m. - Balloon Burst & Spot Landing Competition Begins

3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. - Free "Young Eagles" Airplane Rides (Rides will begin

immediately following daily competition.)


The Pine Bluff Advertising and Promotion Commission, the city's official tourism office, awarded BPA with a $10,000 event funding grant for the 2023 Operation Skyhook event. “We are proud to support the Black Pilots of America and are thrilled to have them return ‘home’ to Pine Bluff for Operation Skyhook,” said Sheri Storie, executive director for the Pine Bluff Advertising and Promotion Commission. This group does more than boost our local economy during the Memorial Day Weekend, they also bring us together and instill a sense of community pride.”


Ken Johnson, local aviator and Chairman of the Pine Bluff Aviation Commission, said he is delighted to see BPA return to Pine Bluff over the years. When BPA was looking for a place to host this event, he extended the invitation for the group to meet in Pine Bluff. At the time he had no idea that the event would continue for a quarter of a century by having the traditional “Operation Skyhook” in Pine Bluff.


Grider Field Restaurant will be open Friday, May 26 from 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, May 27 and 28, from 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.


The aims and purposes of the Black Pilots of America are:

  1. To train youth to participate and advance in various types of employment within the field of aviation.

  2. To stimulate and encourage broader job opportunities for underprivileged youth in all phases of aviation.

  3. To encourage youth to enter the field of aviation and to remain in school by educating students with films and lectures in schools regarding opportunities in the field of aviation.

  4. To organize and set up a school for such training.

  5. To develop scholarships for youth who will partake in such training and development.

For more information about the Black Pilots of America or Operation Skyhook, please visit bpapilots.org.


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