Black pilots

Janet Bragg made history in 1942 by becoming the first Black woman to earn her commercial pilot’s license in the United States. Bessie Coleman, another pioneering aviator whose exploits predated Bragg, was forced to earn her pilot’s license in France, becoming the first African-American, first woman and first American to earn an international pilot’s license. […]

Eugene Ballard is considered to be the first African-American military pilot, although he never flew for the United States. Known as the “Black Swallow of Death,” the Columbus, Ga. native was born October 9, 1895. Born to a father who was a former slave, Ballard lived a troubled childhood and ran away from home several […]

Black women make up less than 1% of pilots, both commercial and military. Jacque Reid goes Inside Her Story with Stephanie Grant who is a Black female pilot. 10 years ago Grant made history as a part of the very first all Black female flight crew. The flight Atlantic Southeast Airlines Flight No. 5202 from […]

              Jonathan Strickland may as well have wings attached to his back as the young pilot already owns several world records in aviation. The Los Angeles native recently achieved another mark by becoming the youngest pilot hired by UPS at just 25 years old. At a very young age, […]

When Louis “Lou” Freeman takes to the skies on Thursday June 8, it will be his last time doing so as a pilot for Southwest Airlines. The sendoff marks the end of 36 years as a commercial airline pilot and as the first Black chief pilot for any major U.S. carrier. Freeman was born June 12, […]

Florida aviator   Charles P. Bailey Sr. was the first Black native of the state to fly for the elite Tuskegee Airmen. Bailey was one of nine siblings who served during the major wars of the 20th Century. Bailey was born in 1919 in Punta Gorda, Fla., the youngest of seven boys who were collectively […]

A group of 18 African-American pilots for United Airlines are holding a press conference with civil rights leaders to urge Congress and the U.S. Department of Justice to launch a federal investigation into the hiring, promoting, training, discipline, diversity and equal employment practices of United Airlines. According to the pilots, United Airlines has had a […]

Isaiah Cooper, a 16-year-old Compton, Calif. high school student, achieved the first of two record-breaking feats last month. According to flight organizers who planned his first outing, Cooper is the youngest African-American pilot to fly across the United States. Cooper, a member of Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum, made the journey under the tutelage of instructor Robin […]

Charles Alfred “Chief” Anderson will be honored this week in his hometown of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania in recognition of his commemorative stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service. Anderson was a pioneering Black aviator who became the lead trainer for the Tuskegee Airmen. As we detailed in our Little Known Black History Fact, Anderson flew […]