0 African American Aviators: Coleman, Brown, Bluford and Young

Recently, Yvonne from St. Petersburg, Florida was curious about the first black woman commercial airline pilot.

According to Empower Encyclopedia:

  • Bessie Coleman, (1892-1926), is given credit as the first black woman in the United States to receive a pilot’s license.

  • Willa Brown started flying in 1934. She was born in Kentucky, went to school in Indiana, became a teacher in Gary, and learned to fly in Chicago. Willa Brown obtained her commercial pilot's license in 1937.

  • Pan American World Airways First Officer and pilot Otis B. Young, of Washington D.C., was the first African American to fly a 747 jumbo jet. In 1970, the former Air Force aviator flew the first 747 non-stop flight between London and Los Angeles.

  • Jill Brown was accepted by the Navy in 1974 as the first black woman for pilot training. In 1978, Jill Brown became the first African American woman pilot/First Officer with a major carrier: Texas International Airlines.

In the space age, Guion Stewart Bluford Jr. became the first black American astronaut in space aboard the space shuttle Challenger on August 30, 1983.