FIRST LICENSED AFRICAN-AMERICAN AND NATIVE AMERICAN WOMAN PILOT
I am a HUGE aerophile. My love of aviation was born in me and nurtured as I grew. It was apart of my education as well as my career. That being said, my reading and writing would be lacking without it. Not to mention, the amazing women who inspired us all to soar beyond the social tethers trying to bound us all. One such lady is Bessie Coleman.
Bessie was known to be an avid reader, which was strongly encouraged by her mother. Unusual for most Americans during her time, she, also, graduated high school. She attended one term of college (which she paid for herself) and later moved to Chicago, where she became a manicurist until she could save up enough for flight school. As there weren’t opportunities for women, people of color, or Native Americans in the United States, she eventually traveled to France. That is where she trained and received her international pilot license from Fédération Aéronautique Internationale.
Bessie Coleman was best known for her amazing flying skills. She is credited for perfecting life-saving maneuvers into aero-stunts. This is how she got her nicknames: ‘Brave Bessie; “Queen Bess’, and ‘The Only Race Aviatrix in the World.’
She studied with the famous WWI German ace pilot, Captain Keller and test piloted airplanes in the Netherlands for Anthony Fokker, “The Flying Dutchman.” … These men trusted her flying skills. She perfected life-saving maneuvers into finely polished aerobatic stunts—figure eights; loop the loops, trick climbs, and landing the airplane with the engine off. In Germany, she was praised for flying the largest and most awkward aircraft ever flown by a woman. – ibid.