Jesse D. Hayes, Jr., MD. (1931 –2000)
The Red-Tailed Hawks Flying Club (RTH) awards this scholarship to student members who serve RTH or Red-Tailed Hawks Aviation Academy, Inc. and demonstrate leadership during the development, planning or execution of STEM programs and challenges. Middle school, high school and college age recipients may use scholarship funds for any Science, Engineering, Technology or Mathematics (STEM) related pursuit (e.g. STEM programs, vocational school certificates, college degrees, flight training, etc.). Award amounts may vary $500-$10,000 and can cover tuition, books, administration fees, transportation,
housing, and other directly associated costs).
Beyond dedicated service to the RTH mission, here is a non-exhaustive list of roles that can increase scholarship eligibility:
Participation in ROADS challenges (as team member or mission advisor)
Aerospace Science Camp (as table coach, teacher, program volunteer)
Developing RTH Curriculum
Outreach event / Youth Program STEM presenter
Application Period is October 1 st to November 1st.
Dr. Jesse D. Hayes, Jr., was a transformative leader who helped form Black Pilots of America and embodied its aims and purposes through his commitment to aviation. Inspired by Black aviation pioneers and the valor of the 332 nd Fighter Group during WWII, Hayes served Black communities and elevated aviation as a viable hobby and career choice.
After serving as a flight surgeon in the United States Air Force Medical Corps, Hayes moved his family to Houston, TX, in 1962 to work as Texas’s first Black ophthalmologist. He operated a well-regarded and successful practice, yet his passion remained aviation. In the mid-60s, he earned his Private Pilot certification and developed a network of like-minded pilots. By 1968, he and four other pilots formed the Bronze Eagles Flying Club (BEFC) with a mission to increase Black involvement in aviation.
As President of BEFC, Hayes flew to Grider Field, Pine Bluff, AR, along with 100 other Black pilots from around the country, at the invitation of Charles Alfred “Chief” Anderson in July 1969. They convened to discuss the formation of Negro Airmen International (NAI). There Hayes met Horace Noble, President of Chicago American Pilots Association (CAPA), and forged a lifelong bond.
Being natural competitors, Hayes and Noble envisioned a flying competition between CAPA and BEFC, and on Memorial Weekend 1971, forty-six airplanes arrived at Barrier Field, Yazoo City, MS, for the first Operation Skyhook. BEFC won the first team trophy. This national annual event moved to Wichita, KS, Houston, TX, and Tuskegee, AL, over the years and currently resides where the two creators first met—Grider Field.
While serving BEFC, Hayes became a highly accomplished pilot and aircraft owner with over 14,000 flight hours. His first and last airplanes were Mooney J-20s and, in between, he owned a Bonanza, two Barons and a Cherokee. In the pursuit of excellence and safety, he earned his Instrument rating, Commercial Pilot certification, and then Airline Transport Pilot certification.
Hayes’ service also included NAI Treasurer, BEFC Treasurer, coordinating numerous fly-ins for Black youths throughout Texas and creating promotional films to inspire folks to learn to fly. His passion for drawing Black youths to aviation is memorialized in Houston’s Dr. Jesse D. Hayes, Jr. Annual Fly-In for Children, where BEFC flies over 100 youths every July. He is also honored in the Black Pilots of America, Inc. Hall of Fame.
Hayes was a life-long learner with an aptitude for engineering and a passion for new technologies. He also served his community by volunteering in the Settegast Clinic in Houston, TX every Wednesday for over 30 years. As such, Jesse D. Hayes, Jr. STEM Scholarship memorializes his legacy as a servant leader and lover of STEM.