In 1968, Elton R. “Sugar Ray” Thomas and Hulon “Pappy” White, former owners and operators of Sky Ranch Flying Service of Houston, located on the Historic Stevenson Ranch in Almeda, Texas, met with Dr. Jesse D. Hayes, Jr., Attorney Matthew Plummer, Horace Perkins, and several other local Negro pilots. This meeting provided the basis for the establishment of the Bronze Eagles Flying Club. One of the Club’s objectives was to promote aviation among Negroes. Another objective of critical importance began to take shape: exposing the world of aviation to youth.
One of the Club’s first official acts was to become an affiliate of Negro Airmen International (NAI). In 1970, as a result of this affiliation, the Bronze Eagles Flying Club and the Chicago American Pilots Association (CAPA), under the umbrella of NAI, organized the first “Operation Skyhook” in Yazoo, Mississippi, for youth and Negro pilots across the nation.
In 1985, due largely to the statewide role of flying youth in the cities of Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, Mexia, and Houston, the Club’s president at the time, David L. Alexander II, accepted a recommendation from Dr. Hayes and Doug Smoots for renaming the organization. The Club’s members voted to accept the recommendation and the organization became the Bronze Eagles Flying Club of Texas, with chapters in the above-mentioned cities. Dr. Hayes accepted the task to chair a committee that would rewrite the organization’s constitution to parallel the Negro Airmen International’s constitution.
More recently, the Bronze Eagles Flying Club of Texas became an affiliate of the Black Pilots of America; this organization was founded by former members of Negro Airmen International. The relationship has cultivated a nationwide network of African-American pilots and enthusiasts that are committed to reaching out to involve inner-city youths in order to expand their interest in achieving aviation-related careers.