Tag: Bessie Coleman

Captain Tara Wright and First Officer Mallory Cave Make Alaska Airlines History as its 1st African-American Female Flight Crew

Captain Tara Wright and 1st Officer Mallory Cave of Alaska Airlines (photo via ktva.com)

via ktva.com

Alaska Airlines marked a milestone on Mother’s Day, as one of its West Coast flights became the first to be flown by two black women.

Tara Wright, the captain of Flight 361 from San Francisco to Portland, stepped out of the cockpit to introduce herself and first officer Mallory Cave to passengers before their Boeing 737’s Sunday takeoff.

After mentioning that Sunday was Mother’s Day, as well as her father’s 80th birthday, Wright sprung her surprise in a Facebook video.

“Finally, you’re sharing a pretty interesting piece of Alaska Airlines history this morning,” she told passengers, who began bursting into applause. “You’ll be piloted by two female African-American pilots for the first time in the airline’s history.”

Alaska Airlines – which was formed in a 1932 merger and took its current name in 1944 – subsequently shared Wright’s video to its Facebook page. Its post called the moment “history in the flying,” adding that Wright and Cave were following in the footsteps of Bessie Coleman — America’s first black woman to make a public flight in 1922.

Sunday’s flight has special relevance in the airline industry, where more than 72 percent of employees are white and 60 percent are male according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. A 2015 breakdown of airline data from the bureaushowed even greater diversity issues among flight crews, in which 91 percent of airline pilots and 73 percent of flight attendants were white; just 9 percent of pilots were female, versus nearly 75 percent of flight attendants.

Airline officials declined to discuss details Thursday on the racial or gender diversity of its pilot corps, which includes nearly 2,000 pilots with Alaska and almost 840 more flying with Virgin America after it was acquired by Alaska in 2016.

To read more, go to: http://www.ktva.com/story/38218189/alaska-airlines-sees-first-ever-black-female-flight-crew

Born on This Day in 1892: Pioneering Aviator Bessie Coleman (VIDEO)

Bessie Coleman

Elizabeth “Bessie” Coleman was an American civil aviator. She was the first female pilot of African American descent and the first person of African-American descent to hold an international pilot license.  Coleman was born in Atlanta,Texas, the tenth of thirteen children to sharecroppers George, who was part Cherokee, and Susan Coleman.

In 1915, at the age of 23, she moved to Chicago, Illinois, where she lived with her brothers and she worked at the White Sox Barber Shop as a manicurist, where she heard stories from pilots returning home from World War I about flying during the war. She could not gain admission to American flight schools because she was black and a woman. No black U.S. aviator would train her either. Robert S. Abbott, founder and publisher of the Chicago Defender, encouraged her to study abroad.

Coleman raised money, studied French, and then traveled to Paris on November 20, 1920.  She learned to fly in a Nieuport Type 82 biplane, with “a steering system that consisted of a vertical stick the thickness of a baseball bat in front of the pilot and a rudder bar under the pilot’s feet.”  On June 15, 1921, Coleman became not only the first African-American woman to earn an international aviation license from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, and the first American of any gender or ethnicity to do so, but the first African-American woman to earn an aviation pilot’s license. Determined to polish her skills, Coleman spent the next two months taking lessons from a French ace pilot near Paris, and in September 1921 sailed for New York. She became a media sensation when she returned to the United States.

To learn more about Coleman’s life and career, click here or watch the Smithsonian Channel video above.

article via wikipedia.com

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

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”