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Dedicated to moving ourselves

and others toward life's

greatest rewards

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I Just Wanted to Fly is Jim Tilmon's story. It is the history-making story of his dream which started at the age of 5. It describes a life of many challenges, near death events and victories included in fulfilling Jim's lifelong dream to become the pilot of a commercial airplane.

I Just Wanted to Fly can also be printed on demand. Click on the Discover More button to arrange for the delivery of your copy.


The Tilmon Group, LLC was formed in 2005 and  is comprised of individuals whose talents range from children's book author to internationally recognized aviation analyst. They have merged their expertise under the leadership of the multi-talented and multifaceted president of The Tilmon Group, Jim Tilmon.

Jim Tilmon is a success in many and various career areas. He flew airplanes for a commercial airline for 29 and a half years, spending a portion of that time as an instructor. He hosted the television program "Our People" the first of its kind in the nation, a show of, for and by Black people. He served on television, on both NBC and CBS, in Chicago for over 25 years as a show host, weather anchor and aviation analyst. He is an award-winning producer of audio and video presentations with over 35 years experience. Jim is also an accomplished concert musician.

With the formation of The Tilmon Group, it is Jim's hope that others in many walks of life will now be able to benefit from the knowledge acquired through his many accomplishments.

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As it is with everyone, life teaches many lessons. We at The Tilmon Group do our best to take the knowledge we have acquired through our lives and share what we have learned.


Our backgrounds are particularly experienced to enable us to work in the areas of aviation analysis (combined pilot flight experience of over 40 years and aviation reporting and analysis for nearly 40 years), weather analysis and consultation (weathercaster/anchor for over 23 years), personal development/media coaching (experienced being an on-air award-winning talent, the interviewer, being the interviewed, working in the media production industry on "both sides of the camera", and being exposed to a myriad of social situations), creating books (documenting our experiences, knowledge and ideas) and music (expressing feelings through sound), public speaking (sharing what we know in an enjoyable way), life skills training (for young and old - having "been there, done that" - and presenting information with 21st century tools and techniques), and simply having fun (taking a recess from life's daily challenges).

We pride ourselves on honesty and integrity in whatever business endeavors we undertake with our clients.

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Jim Tilmon has been leading an interesting and exceptional life. At age 5 he decided & believed he would be a commercial airline pilot, a nearly impossible dream for a Black child in 1939. He faced Incredible challenges & setbacks along the way, but thanks to college ROTC programs, Jim began his flying career in the U.S. Army serving 8 years in the Army Corps of Engineers and as a pilot on fixed-wing aircraft & helicopters.
He was stationed in the U.S. & Germany, awarded an Army Commendation Medal and honorably discharged with the rank of Captain.

After the Army he flew for American Airlines, the 3rd African-American pilot hired by American & the 5th in the United States. He flew the DC-6, DC-7, BAC-111 & Boeing 727, was an instructor on the BAC-111 and represented American on VP Hubert Humphrey’s Plans for Progress Task Force on Youth Motivation. He was awarded the Captain’s Chair for humanitarian work & outreach to youth and retired as a Captain.

Broadcast TV Career
- 4 years on WTTW in Chicago hosting and producing a weekly show Our People
- 22½ years on NBC owned station WMAQ-TV in Chicago
- Hosted an Emmy winning weekly show Tilmon Tempo
- Weather forecaster/anchor/aviation analyst on WMAQ-TV (20 yrs) and WBBM-TV Chicago (3 yrs)
- Frequently is sought for expert aviation analysis by media entities worldwide

Jim Tilmon has lived his dream and is now helping others find their way to happiness and success.


Joan Cuyjet Tilmon enjoyed a multi-faceted career with a major commercial airline. In her fifteen years with the airline she acquired knowledge and skills in the areas of crew scheduling and crew compensation, as a ticket lift/gate agent, a passenger service manager and flight service (flight attendant) supervisor. 

Having been selected for and participating in a management development program, Joan also gained experience in passenger sales, conducted quality control time studies around the airline’s airport system and co-wrote the Emergency Procedures Manual needed for the airline’s opening of service in Frankfurt, Germany. 


Resigning her position at the airline, she was able to develop her interest in graphics and their use in various areas of media production. Together with her husband Jim they formed, Carpe Diem! Productions in 1993. The company prided itself on producing broadcast quality video and audio for clients ranging from those needing simple PowerPoint presentations to full television and radio media campaigns. Carpe Diem! fell victim to the economic influences following 9/11/2001 and closed its doors by the end of 2003. During those ten years Joan was able to become proficient in many areas of creative arts and continues to use those skills today.

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It is with a saddened heart that we inform our visitors to this website, that Jim Tilmon passed from this life on 16 January 2021. He lived an accomplished life, primarily because of his belief that he would be able to do so. He never once stopped believing  he would live his primary dream - to pilot a commercial aircraft. His other achievements were ancillary and a result of his determination and hard work. He will be sorely missed.

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