Tag: Aviation

Asante Mahapa, South Africa’s 1st Black Female Pilot, Inspires Girls to Aim High

Asnath Mahapa is South Africa’s first African female pilot. (photo via cnn.com)

article by Hira Humayan, Amanda Sealy, CNN and Phoebe Parke, for CNN via cnn.com

Asnath Mahapa was fascinated by planes as a teenager, little did she know she would break boundaries with them by becoming South Africa’s first African female pilot.

“It just dawned on me that those big things that we see in the skies, someone is actually in charge of them,” she told CNN. “I thought if someone can fly this thing, that means I can also do it.”

Mahapa, whose father didn’t want her to become a pilot, overcame a number of obstacles before she took to the skies.  “When I told my father I wanted to become a pilot, he never even entertained the idea, ” she explained.

Challenging route to success

She enrolled in a course in electrical engineering at the University of Cape Town in line with her father’s wishes, only to drop out a year later. She later started flight school, which came with it’s own set of challenges.

“I was the only woman in my class the whole time,” she said. “I had to work very hard. I had to probably work ten times harder than the men that I was with in the classroom.”

Mahapa also felt sick the first few times she took to the skies. But that didn’t stop her. “My first time, I felt sick,” she said. “I was persistent, I went back again, I went back until I stopped feeling sick.”

Her hard work and determination paid off and in 1998 she broke barriers by taking to the skies as the first female African pilot in South Africa.

“I didn’t know I was the first black woman until 2003, until about four years later. And I was still the only one at the time and I did not know,” she said.  “Before I knew it I was on TV, front page of newspapers, and that came as a shock because I was still young, I was 22 at the time, I was very young.”

Charting a new course

Mahapa was not content with just breaking barriers, she wanted to train and inspire a new generation of pilots, so in 2012 she opened the African College of Aviation.

“For me, it’s about trying to help women who aspire to become pilots,” she said. “I still see a lot of black women going through the same things that I went through at that time. They still struggle to get jobs after they qualify.

“Most of them they struggle with finances because it’s a very expensive industry.” In addition to cost, according to Mahapa the field is still very male dominated, something she is committed to change.

To read full article and see video, go to: South Africa’s first black female pilot inspiring girls to aim high – CNN.com

African Americans Fly High with Math and Science

Barrington Irving , a 23-year-old Jamaican-born pilot, at a news conference at Opa-locka Airport Wednesday, June 27, 2007, ending a three-month journey he said would make him the youngest person to fly around the world alone.
Barrington Irving , a 23-year-old Jamaican-born pilot, at a news conference at Opa-locka Airport Wednesday, June 27, 2007, ending a three-month journey he said would make him the youngest person to fly around the world alone.  (Alan Diaz/AP)

This Black History Month, NPR’s “Tell Me More” is taking a look at African Americans in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math) who are inspiring future generations.

Today, Barrington Irving shares how his sky high dreams became a reality. A chance encounter in his parents’ bookstore put him on a path that would make him the youngest person and first African American to fly solo around the world.

Barrington Irving remembers a man walking into the store dressed in a pilot’s uniform. The man asked whether Irving might consider a future in aviation. “I immediately just said to him, I don’t think I’m smart enough to do it,” Irving remembers. “Then I asked him how much money he made and after he answered that question, I took an interest in aviation.”

Continue reading “African Americans Fly High with Math and Science”

Born On This Day in 1892: Renowned Aviator Bessie Coleman

Noted stunt-flier Bessie Coleman was born.
Bessie Coleman, born Jan. 26, 1892, was a renowned aviator who was the first African-American woman to become a pilot and to hold an international pilot’s license. When she turned 18, Coleman took her savings and enrolled in the Oklahoma Colored Agricultural and Normal University (now called Langston University). She completed one term before her money ran out, and returned home.

In 1915 she moved to Chicago and worked as a manicurist, listening to stories from pilots who had flown in World War I. Determined to become a pilot, she was encouraged by Robert S. Abbott, founder and publisher of the Chicago Defender to study aviation abroad. Coleman received financial backing from a banker and the Defender. She eventually traveled to Paris and became the first African-American woman to earn an international aviation license and also the first in the world to earn an aviation pilot’s license. She later traveled to the Netherlands and Germany to get additional training before returning to the United States, where she did stunt flying and was billed as “the world’s greatest woman flier.”  

Coleman developed a reputation as a skilled and daring pilot, who would stop at nothing to complete a difficult stunt. She died in 1926 after an airplane malfunction caused her aircraft to crash at the age of 34.

article by Jonathan P. Hicks via bet.com

Born On This Day in 1906: Willa Brown, First Black Female Aviator to Acquire Pilot’s License

Willa Brown
 (Photo: Courtesy of Smithsonian Institution)

Willa Brown, born on Jan. 21, 1906, was one of the pioneer figures in the world of African-American aviators. She was the first Black female officer in the Civil Air Patrol and the first Black woman to hold a commercial pilot’s license in the United States.

Brown was the coordinator of war-training service for the Civil Aeronautics Authority and later was a member of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Women’s Advisory Board.

A native of Glasgow, Kentucky, Brown earned a degree from Indiana State Teachers College and a master’s degree from the Aeronautical University in Chicago. She later earned a master’s in business administration from Northwestern University. She and her husband, Cornelius Coffey, formed the Coffey School of Aeronautics to train African-American pilots. Brown retired in 1971 as a schoolteacher. She died of a stroke in 1992.

article by Jonathan P. Hicks via bet.com 

Airport Cleaner Returns Lost iPad, $13,000 in Cash

Cleaning service worker Patrick Morgan was honored for his honesty at an award ceremony Wednesday morning. He talked about finding a big wad of cash in an iPad case.

 Cleaning service worker Patrick Morgan was honored for his honesty at an award ceremony Wednesday morning. He talked about finding a big wad of cash in an iPad case.

Patrick Morgan was working an early shift at the airport last month when he came across the iPad that had been left behind at a bar in one of the terminals at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.  When he opened the case, he spotted the big wad of cash.  “I opened it first and I see the money and I closed it back,” he said.

Morgan, of Patrick’s Cleaning Service which works for Sunshine Cleaning Systems Inc., immediately turned in the iPad and $13,000 cash to the airport communications center and Broward Sheriff’s Office substation.  Minutes later, the owner, who had returned from a trip to Las Vegas, came back to the bar and Morgan told him where he could find the money and iPad.  The iPad owner gave Morgan a $60 reward, which Morgan passed on to a homeless woman.

The Broward County Aviation Department honored Morgan for his honesty and hard work, and Sunshine Cleaning awarded him $625, which is equal to one week paid vacation. He says he’ll keep it.

article by Julia Bagg via nbcmiami.com

Aviation Pioneer J. Herman Banning Makes Historic Cross-Country Flight On This Day In 1932

 

James Herman Banning

The story of J. Herman Banning, an aviator who made a series of historic firsts, is an inspiring tale worthy of being retold for generations on end.  Born James Herman Banning in Oklahoma in 1899, he would later move his family to the town of Ames, Iowa in 1919. Enrolling into Iowa State, Banning briefly studied electrical engineering but later ended his collegiate career after being called to the skies. Continue reading “Aviation Pioneer J. Herman Banning Makes Historic Cross-Country Flight On This Day In 1932”