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The Tuskegee Airmen displayed considerable courage and skill during their flight missions and had to take considerable risks. The filmmakers have tried to represent the experiences of the airmen as authentically as possible.

Look closely at these stills from the film then discuss the questions by each.

A still from the film Red Tails, of a group of black pilots


  • What impression does this still image give of the characters in the frame? 
  • Think about what they might be listening to, how they are dressed and their facial expressions.
A still from the film Red Tails of four black pilots wearing goggles and safety equipment


  • What impression does this image give of these airmen? Do you think they are embarking on or returning from a flight mission? What do you base this answer on? What personal qualities do they seem to demonstrate?
  • Based on your general knowledge of racism in America during the 1940s, in what ways might this image challenge racist stereotypes dominant at this time?
A still from the film Red Tails of a black pilot in the cockpit of a plane A still from the film Red Tails of a black pilot in the cockpit of a plane

STILL 3 & 4

  • What do these close ups suggest about the characters at these points in the film?
  • What qualities do the images suggest are required by fighter pilots?

Your Personal Qualities

The website of the Royal Air Force in the UK includes a personality test to see if prospective candidates have the qualities required to join. In the RAF there are lots of different roles, not just pilots so it’s not just about bravery and risk taking.

The questions include some of the following qualities:

  • being unconventional
  • being precise
  • taking the lead
  • liking technical subjects
  • valuing people you work with rather than tasks
  • liking working in a team.

Using these ideas as a starting point, with a partner, make a list of your personal qualities that you think an employer would value.

  • How would you feel, for example, about applying to become a fighter pilot?
  • What does your answer to this question suggest about your own strengths, weaknesses and personal interests?