Tag Archives: pilot

Louis Zamperini: The Airman Who Could Not Be Broken

Unbroken is the story of Louis Zamperini, a World War II airman whose B-24 bomber was shot down in the Pacific Ocean. Laura Hillenbrand, who also authord Seabiscuit, goes to great lengths to paint an incredible portrait of this pilot’s courage and resilience.

Zamperini was an avid runner before joining the Air Force. In college he broke numerous collegiate records and qualified for the 1936 Games in Berlin. He carried his team to 8th place in the 5000 meters, finishing with an incredible 56-second final lap.

Zamperini was deployed to the Pacific Theatre where his B-24 was shot down and he and one other crew member survived by eating raw fish and birds for 47 days before drifting onto Japanese-occupied land. The two become prisoners of war and are subjected to a harrowing ordeal that at various times nearly costs them both their lives.

Unbroken is an inspiring tale of courage in the face of impossible odds and redemption. Hillenbrand takes great care in telling her subject’s story and, using interviews with family members along with tireless research of Zamperini’s fellow POWs, is able to piece together this tale.

Aside from Zamperini’s incredible story, the book provides a lot of gristle for aviation enthusiasts. The story begins with a young Zamperini who sits up in bed after hearing a loud “whooshing” sound outside his bedroom in the California night sky. He runs out onto the lawn and looks up, only to see the German dirigible Graf Zeppelin floating through the night sky. Hillenbrand also details many of the planes and bombers the U.S. and Japanese militaries employed. Especially interesting are the times when Hillenbrand delves into the rudimentary technology the early U.S. bombers used. Her description of the bomb sights those crafts utilized give a new appreciation for the skill and precision that went into operating them.

Whether you consider yourself an aviation fanatic or you can’t tell the difference between a B-24 and a B-52, Unbroken is a book worth picking up. It’s inspiring subject matter and super-fine detail can be appreciated by everyone.

Logan is a guest blogger who writes about the aviation industry and jet charter services. He takes off from Teterboro airport on a regular basis.

Airline Pilot Jobs scenario

Pilot Jobs – The Ever Changing Market
Guest Post by Matthew Keegan

If you are from India, and looking for Pilot Jobs in India, then you should read the other post. If you want to work as an airline pilot, and looking for airline pilot jobs, then continue reading on. If you are considering aviation as a career, and want to learn more about how to become an airline pilot, read this 8 Steps to an Airline Pilot Career. To become an airline pilot you would need to get your Commercial Pilot certificate, or license, then accumulate or build flight time to qualify for an Airline Pilot job opening. And lastly, if you are a non-US individual, you should read about how to become a pilot in the United States as well.

So you are looking for work as an airline pilot, you can’t help but notice that the news is constantly filled with information [mostly negative] about the job situation for the industry as a whole. Unfortunately, news-media only get part of the story right as the airline industry is always in a state of flux. Pilot jobs are available, but you must broaden your horizons beyond the conventional ways in which most pilots go about finding work. Let’s take a look at some of the options available to you.

Independence Air’s recent demise has thrown hundreds of Airbus pilots out of work in the US. Press reports have been painting a gloomy picture of this event, which was not unexpected by airline experts. Still, the future isn’t completely gloomy for these very same pilots, as Virgin America is expected to take flight in about one year. They plan on operating a fleet consisting of as many as 105 Airbus aircraft.

The legacy carriers have been presenting some of the most challenges for potential pilots as few, if any, are hiring. Most are in the process or have nearly completed the process of extracting “give backs” in the form of wages and benefits from their current pilot ranks. In addition, as pilots retire, available pilot jobs are filled from their lengthy lists of furloughed crew members. Certainly, the legacy carriers – American, Continental, United, Delta, Northwest, and USAirways – are currently not worth exploring as a place to look for pilot jobs.

Pilot jobs are available through many of the regional carriers. Some of these carriers include Chautauqua, Republic, Comair, Big Sky, American Eagle, Air Wisconsin, Great Lakes, and others. Pilot pay is very low, but the opportunity to fly can be very good with the regional carriers. These carriers typically fly Embraer ERJs, Canadair CRJs, or British Aerospace regional jets carrying passenger loads ranging from 50 to 100 seats.

Charter carriers have typically been a fairly good source for pilot jobs. These Part 121 operators consist of a bevy of airlines including World Airways, North American, Miami Air, Sun Country, and Ryan International. From time to time pilot job opportunities are posted directly on each airline’s web site. Check in often for the latest hiring news.

Then there is the assortment of start up airlines that have recently hired or are in the process of hiring. As you know, the failure rate for start ups is very high, but for many crew members a seat is a seat especially one that allows you to accumulate valuable and needed flight time. Two recent start ups that have taken flight include EOS Airlines and Maxjet Airways. As mentioned previously, Virgin America Airlines is in the process of passing through all of its regulatory hurdles and Primaris Airlines will be expanding its fleet over the next few years in its quest to become a full fledged airline flying scheduled routes. Other start up carriers worth watching for future pilot jobs include: Fly First Class, Baltia, and Mexus.

Discount carriers typically offer the best chance for finding pilots jobs. Southwest Airlines and JetBlue Airways lead the pack, but Mesa, Spirit, Alaska, Horizon, Midwest, and USA3000 have all listed pilot jobs within the past year or are planning to do so in the coming months. Pay is an issue, much lower than the legacy carriers, but you can find work.

Beyond contacting the companies directly, there are helpful web sites filled with pilot job opportunities or, at the very least, interview gouges and banter. The internet has a myriad of sites available, so I will start from the top: Aviation Employment Board, Climbto350, Flight International, Fliteinfo, Jet Movements, Landings, Parc Aviation, PPrune, Student Pilot, Thirty Thousand Feet, U.S. Aviation, and Will Fly For Food.

Finally, for the pilot who is willing to look well beyond the U.S., opportunities can exist with carriers based in the Emirates, India, China, Vietnam, and other destinations. If it is flight time you want, many have exactly what you need.

Pilot jobs are available and with a little digging and some sleuthing you can uncover for yourself a good list of companies that are worth a look. As mentioned, the industry is in a constant state of flux but the savvy pilot can work that to his or her advantage by staying on top of industry trends.

Matthew Keegan is a freelance writer based in North Carolina. You can preview samples from his high performing site at The Article Writer.

Flight Training loans, grants and scholarships are available to those who qualify, and you should definitely ask yourself these 5 questions before you begin your flight training. and here is an explanation of the pilot certificates and licenses available, both as a career pilot or as a recreational or hobby pilot.

I want to be That Guy

This blog is about General Aviation and Flight Training. So far I have been writing about flying lessons in an airplane, as this is what I have been involved in as a professional pilot and flight instructor. Even though before I got into airplanes, I used to fly gliders. And during my own flight training I got me an opportunity to sky dive, which was a total blast!

As a matter of fact, a few weeks ago I decided to drive down to the Lodi, CA airport, which is right off highway 99, and got some information on taking some professional sky diving lessons. I was hoping to be able to do this before I get back to working full time again. And today, a friend and a former student Christophe (from France) sent me a link to this cool Hang Glider pilot’s video on YouTube, and now I am thinking….:-)

I want to be that Guy – Nicholas Cage

The Flight Instructor Who Gave Selflessly

Guest Post: By Stephen Hopson

Today I was going to write about the success of the “Flight to Hartford” project with my church (you can find it listed under my name) and tie it into the universal laws of attraction and giving. But something else came up, taking priority.

I just learned that a man who helped me make my dreams of becoming a pilot seven years ago recently passed away. While I understand most of you didn’t know him, I want to share the story of how we met and the incredible impact he had on my life. I believe and hope you’ll be touched even if you’re not a pilot yourself.

We could all learn how to give selflessly like he did. I don’t know whether or not he was aware of the universal laws of attraction and giving but he was sure a good model for someone who did.

Here’s the story.

Right around the turn of the 21st century, I was still in the process of building my speaking and writing career so I was looking for a part-time job to pay the bills in between professional speaking engagements.

It was also at this time when I was already a month or two into flight training but my original instructor was offered a new job in Colorado so I was forced to find a replacement elsewhere.

One day, I had an inspiration to visit other airports to see if I could get a job at a place where they taught people how to fly. I thought, “Why not? Might as well shoot two birds with one stone.”

After visiting one or two and being told nothing was available, I decided to venture a little further out and try Oakland Troy airport, a 30 minute drive from my home.

It was nestled among a fast growing metropolitan area (Troy, Michigan, USA) complete with a new strip mall, new apartments, a giant Wal-Mart and an assortment of other industrial buildings. The only area with open space was a small golf course nearby. The airport was big enough to accommodate corporate jets yet small enough not to require an air traffic control tower.

Pulling onto the newly repaved airport parking lot, I noticed a small circular white terminal building up ahead.

“That must be where I can find the personnel department,” I thought.

Upon setting foot inside, I was surprised to see only a couple of people milling about, drinking coffee and reading the paper. A jovial looking man with rosy cheeks was pouring himself a steaming hot cup of coffee.

Seeing that I was a new face in the place, he set his coffee down and came barreling toward me at 800 mph with an outstretched hand. It startled the heck out of me.

After regaining my composure, I made the mistake of accepting his bone-crushing handshake, causing me to wince in pain.

Trying to hide my pained expression, I said, “Hi, my name is Stephen Hopson and I’m looking for the personnel department.”

“And I’m Don Solms,” he boomed. He was still pumping my now lifeless hand.

Finally releasing his grip, he said, “Oh, you want a job here?” His face brightened even more, if that were possible.

“Yes, do you know of any openings?” I was massaging my fatally injured hand, opening and closing it repeatedly.

“I think they might be looking for someone. HEY, let me take you over to the other building to Susan’s office. She’s the personnel director. COME ON!”

Just before going in her office, Don thrust his business card in my hand and said cheerfully, “Good luck. Shoot me an email later. You’ll have to come over to my hangar where I keep my plane. Okay?”

Keeping both hands within the safety confines of my pockets, I said, “Thanks Don.” I could tell he wanted another hand shake. Fat chance buddy!

Susan then introduced me to two guys named Carl Barnes and Jason Zimmerman. They were both young men who were in charge running flight services. The interview went well and I ended up being hired. As a line service rep, I would be responsible for fueling and towing airplanes, among other things. It marked the beginning of an incredible 4 years at that airport.

One day, Don was hanging out at his hangar where he kept his prized Skylane. It was sunny and breezy. His hangar door was wide open, allowing cool air to swirl around inside. It was an open invitation to anyone who happened to come by. Spotting me in the fuel truck (I was motoring my way back to the terminal after fueling a customer’s plane), he waved me in and offered me a cold soda.

Ten minutes into the conversation, my dreams of becoming a pilot somehow surfaced. I told him that I was actually looking for a new instructor and was trying to save up some money to resume flight training.

Before he could respond, my vibrating pager distracted me with a new text message. There was another fuel order and I had to get going.

“Don, I’ve gotta go – they are telling me to fuel another airplane. See ya later!”

As I got up to leave, he grabbed my arm and gave it a powerful squeeze. My mind did a quick flashback to that day in the terminal. This time his eyes were sparkling like stars. And he was grinning stupidly.

I was in no way prepared for what he was about to say next.

“I would be honored to be your flight instructor and I won’t charge you for my time. All you’d be responsible for is the cost of renting an airplane.”

My God, an angel was in my midst and I knew it.

Absentmindedly rubbing my arms to stem the tide of goose bumps that was spreading like wildfire all over my body, I said, “Wow, really? Thanks man!”

Then he turned serious for a moment and said, “When are you free for your first lesson?”

Thrown off balance since I didn’t expect it to happen so soon, I said, “Well, how about tomorrow?”

“Okay, you got it! ” he thundered. Then he winked as if he were saying, “our secret.”

The rest was history. He was true to his word. Months of flight training with this man proved to be quite an adventure.

He was best known as a jokester, even in the cockpit. Now you have to picture this in your mind. There we were, me, a deaf student pilot and him, a 250 pound flight instructor with a large football frame who liked to poke his elbow at me every time he made a joke. And get this…he thought everything he said was funny!

Ouch!

Aside from his wry sense humor, he was one of the most patient flight instructors I would ever have. Every time we got ready for a lesson, he’d explain in the classroom what we were going to do and then we’d go up and fly.

If he wanted to explain something while we were flying, he’d take control of the airplane while I read his lips and then we’d resume the lesson. Don was one of those rare flight instructors who did not care about building flight time for a future career with the airlines. He was in it for the long haul. In fact, it wasn’t until after 50 plus years of flying and instructing that he finally hung up his wings last year.

He truly enjoyed the fine art of teaching and it showed. He never yelled at his students like some flight instructors who think they are drill sergeants with big egos. His students were his prized possessions and he treated all of them with the respect they deserved.

On December 3, 2000 Don had one big surprise up his sleeve. It was a calm, sunny day. We were scheduled to do some practice takeoffs and landings. After doing three of them, he instructed me to taxi over to the ramp by the white terminal building where I first met him months earlier.

Trying to hide his delight, he said, “Let me see your logbook for a sec.”

Arching my right arm as far back as I could behind the front seats, I snatched the logbook out of my bulging black flight bag and gave it to him.

Suddenly it dawned on me that today was “the day.” He was going to sign me off for my first solo flight!

I felt an involuntary shudder.

After scribbling his signature, he turned and looked at me. His brown eyes were sparkling again. The smile was even bigger than before. He was absolutely giddy, like a child on Christmas morning.

“So Mr. Hopson, are you ready?” he thundered.

“Yes, Don, get the hell out!” I thundered back, half joking.

Roaring like a lion, Don heaved his 250 pound football frame out of the airplane, closed and locked the door with a loud click. Then he did something that forever burned in my mind.

Like a five-star general sending his young fighter pilots off to war, he gave me a smart salute!

I almost burst to tears. It was deeply touching. No one ever did that to me before. Despite being more than ready to solo, I still felt a touch of trepidation so I returned the favor with a slightly shaky hand. Thank God he was too far away to see that.

Taxiing into position on the runway, I took a deep breath and firewalled the throttle causing the airplane to literally leap into the air. I remember thinking, “so this is what everyone means when they say the plane will bounce into the air without your instructor!”

Within seconds after takeoff, all the training kicked in and it was just another exercise around the airport pattern. The only difference was…well, I was alone.

After three takeoffs and landings, the venerable flight instructor waved me over and gave the signal to cut the engine. He stood there like a proud papa and motioned for me to go over to where he was standing. Instead of shaking my hand, he wrapped his huge arms around me and gave me a bone crushing hug. But, hey, I didn’t mind.

Five months later, one day short of my birthday, he finally signed me off to take my pilot certification flight test (i.e. “checkride”) with Mary Carpenter, one of the toughest but fairest FAA examiners from the area. He and Terry Ryan (his airplane co-owner at the time), both accompanied me on the flight to Pontiac airport, a mere 10 minutes away where the examiner’s office was located. He wanted to be there when Mrs. Carpenter and I were done with the checkride.

Two hours later, the examiner walked briskly into the waiting area, smiled and said, “Congratulations, Stephen passed with flying colors!”

Don roared his approval.

We all went out to have our pictures taken by the airplane and that’s when he said to me, “I’ll sit in the back seat on the return flight. Congratulations Mr. Pilot in Command!”

It was the greatest, grandest gesture another human being could ever have bestowed upon me. I’ll never forget it. He was that kind of man. Don believed in me so much that he was literally the only person at that airport who believed I would one day become the world’s first deaf instrument rated pilot.

Six years later, I did it, defying every naysayer in the aviation business. In February 06, I became the world’s first deaf instrument rated pilot. For that I salute Don Solms for believing in me.

Here’s to you Don!

Food for thought: Have you considered the power of the law of giving and helped make someone else’s dream come true this week?

Profoundly deaf since birth, Stephen Hopson is a former award-winning stockbroker turned motivational speaker, author and pilot. He works with organizations that are ready to explore and overcome adversity because no one is immune from it – adversity does not discriminate. His professional speaking services, Obstacle Illusions, include fun and passionate presentations, especially the story of how his fifth grade teacher forever changed his young life with THAT’S RIGHT STEPHEN!

You can view his newly re-designed website at http://www.sjhopson.com.

Stephen also maintains a blog called “Adversity University

5 Questions you should ask yourself before starting Flight Training

Have you been thinking about learning to fly an airplane? Or have you thought about it in the past? How about, have you ever dreamed about piloting an airplane? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then go ahead and read on.

Learning to fly an airplane is fun, easy, and a mission possible in most people’s case. Here, read the questions below that you should ask yourself if you ever considered learning to fly or getting yourself a pilot’s certificate.

1. Motivation – What do I need to learn how to fly for; pleasure, business or as a career?

2. Location –Where should I go get my flight training done?

3. Source – What type of flight training provider would be best for me?

4. Scheduling – Full time, part time, formal or informal, what type of scheduling would work the best for me?

5. Financial – How am I going to pay for my training? Would I need financial aid, student loan, personal loan, or some other type of financial assistance?

The reason you should ask these questions to yourself is because it helps you chose the right program, and also helps you understand the budgets and time / effort commitment required. I’ll give you some ballpark numbers here to think about:

If you want to learn how to fly for pleasure, you are looking at about a total of 60-70 hours of flight training time, and about 40-50 hours of ground studies, and to get the best bang for the buck, you should expect about 10-12 hours of training time per week. If it is for pleasure, then you really can simply take the training at your own convenience, or go to one of those vacation / accelerated training places with or without your family. Cost of the training will depend on many variables, like when, where and which aircraft. But for most people, you are looking at about $6000 to $10,000 price range. Of course, there are ways to make it cheaper as well as luxurious and high end as well.

For business reasons, the basic training as above is still required, but what changes is the motivating factor, and possibly some tax advantages, both for training and then actually renting / owning an aircraft and the related cost factors (operating expenses).

As a career? Well, now that is a very detailed topic, I can write a few books on it. Write me an email for any specific questions, and subscribe to this blog (RSS Feed). I write about all this here just about everyday. So read and educate yourself. Here, read these 2 posts for starters: Top 20 Career Options as a Pilot, and 101 General Aviation and Flight Training Scholarships.

Where to get your flight training? Options could be: a local flight training school, a flying club, an independent flight instructor (or CFI as we call them), a pilot flight instructor friend, a vacation / accelerated flight training gig, formal accredited flight training institutes, military academies, aviation college or university program, and so on.

Top 20 Career Options as a Pilot

When we think of pilots, most of us get an image of an airline pilot in our heads. Well, it is true that airline pilot career is one of the most glamorous and top choice career option for most professional pilots, but many chose to join one of the many other options available to them, and many do very well in those fields. Here are the few other career options as a pilot:

  1. Airline Pilots – fly for the airline industry worldwide, both major and regional airline carriers.
  2. Corporate Pilots – fly the high end, newer corporate airplanes for the rich and wealthy.
  3. Military Pilots – fly the state of the art, top of the line, military aircraft, and learn to fly for free (well, get paid0.
  4. Cargo Pilots – fly for the big and small cargo airlines, and cargo carriers, like FedEx, UPS etc.
  5. Air Taxi and Charter Pilots – fly for growing line of air taxi and charter operators worldwide.
  6. Ferry Pilots – fly as a ferry pilot for aircraft manufacturers like Boeing, Airbus, and then there are a lot of aircraft ferry companies available too, to go deliver the aircraft to it’s new owners.
  7. Patrol Pilots – fly for a news group to report traffic, police chases etc, or fly for aerial surveillance companies, like pipeline patrols, oil well patrols etc.
  8. Flight Instructor Pilots – a career option of choice for someone like me. Teach others how to fly, and get paid for it.
  9. EMR Pilots – fly for the air ambulance operators (big and small), helicopters and airplanes.
  10. Law Enforcement Pilots – most law enforcement agencies now have an aviation wing. And a lot of them hire pilots to fly their aircraft.
  11. Aerial Firefighter Pilots – this is mostly a contract and seasonal job, but you may want to combine this with some other job, like a full time firefighter job, or a military reserve pilot job, or a flight instructor job, then you can have the best of all the worlds.
  12. Aerial Crop-duster Pilots – similar line of work like #11 above, but you spray agricultural chemicals for the ag industry, and sometimes even for the local government bodies (pest control etc).
  13. Helicopter Pilots – a whole complete bag of choices, like, military, offshore oil industry, law enforcement, border patrol, DEA, Customs etc. Maybe even the mafia and drug lords. No, the last one was a joke!
  14. Astronauts – space travel in not limited to NASA guys only anymore. Civilian spacecraft are in the near future (well, they already are) going to be affordable to common people, and you can fly those cool high tech vehicles back and forth from earth to space all day long. Something to really think about.
  15. Test Pilots – fly for various aircraft manufacturers, both transport and general aviation, and thousands of other companies, training centers etc as a test pilot.
  16. Airshow Aerobatic Pilots – read my posts about Sean Tucker by clicking here and here (with videos), and you will get an idea. There are many like him who do this full time and part time.
  17. Aircraft Salesmen Pilots – many aircraft sales businesses, including general aviation aircraft manufacturers hire pilots to work as sales-people so they can go and demo the aircraft to prospective customers.
  18. Federal Government Pilots – probably one of the largest employer of pilots. In addition to all of the above, consider flying for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DEA, Customs, Border Patrol, Air National Guard, and many other agencies, even overseas deployment possibilities.
  19. Contract Pilots – fly for government contracting corporations like dyncorp etc, and you can pick and chose just about everything in your pilot career.
  20. Aviation Universities and College Pilots – many aviation educational institutes like Embry Riddle (ERAU), Daniel Websters etc hire pilots and flight instructors to teach in their aviation degree programs.

I wanted to make this list of 20 pilots today. Trust me, I can add many other pilot career options to this list right now, but it’s getting late and I need to go take care of personal stuff. When you are a pilot, sky is not the limit for you anymore!

101 General Aviation and Flight Training Scholarships

Since I have been thinking about compiling a complete list of all scholarship programs available for aviation training, I am posting here the interim list that I have prepared already. And, if you know of a program that is not mentioned in my post, please leave me a comment so I can add it. Also, on another post I have posted the Federal Aid for Flight Training available for certain qualifying candidates and training programs.

  1. American Historical Association – Fellowship in aerospace history. The American Historical Association will annually fund at least one Fellow, for one academic year, to undertake a research project related to aerospace history.
  2. Astronaut Scholarship Foundation – Scholarships in science and engineering. The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation was created to ensure that the United States would maintain its leadership in science and technology by supporting promising students in science and engineering.
  3. ATCA Scholarships Program – Air Traffic Control Association. Air Traffic Control Association (ATCA) Scholarships are awarded to help support the financial needs of those deserving students who have chosen to seek higher education in the science of air traffic control and other aviation disciplines, as well as children of air traffic control specialists.
  4. Aviation Scholarship Foundation – Flight training scholarships for teens in Illinois and Indiana. Discontinued in 2007.
  5. Aviation scholarships – Louisiana Tech listing of aviation scholarships, some specifically for African-Americans.There are a number of scholarships available to aviation students. Because of the frequent changes in the scholarship offerings, it is best to check with the Professional Aviation office regarding the current availability.
  6. Texas Space Grant Consortium – Scholarships and fellowships for students attending TSGC institutions. All graduate and undergraduate students that are attending TSGC academic institutions are eligible to apply.
  7. Aerospace Education Foundation (AEF) – AEF provides 800 scholarships and grants to flight students and educators. Special attention given to military applicants.
  8. Aircraft Electronics Association Educational Foundation – The AEAEF offers (27) scholarships totaling over $66,000 to graduating high school seniors and enrolled college students, seeking degrees in the field of aviation maintenance, avionics, and aircraft repair.
  9. Air Force Aid Society’s Education Grant – The Air Force Aid Society provides $1,500 grants to dependent children of active, retired, or deceased members of the Air Force Aid Society. In addition, the grants require financial need and full-time student status.
  10. AOPA – The Airline Pilots Association offers a four-year renewable $3,000 scholarship to students who are children of medically retired or deceased pilot members of the Airline Pilots Association. The executive committee will also consider freshman college students; high school seniors should apply during the second semester of their senior year.
  11. Airports Council International – North America Commissioner’s Roundtable Scholarship – The ACI-NA offers five annual scholarships up to $2,000 for enrolled undergraduates seeking a career in airport management. Must have a 3.0 GPA.
  12. Air Traffic Control Association – ATCA offers $600-$2,500 awards to promising students in an aviation related degree program. Successful candidates will have scholastic achievement, financial need, and the drive to succeed in the aviation industry.
  13. American Association of Airport Executives – The AAAE Foundation scholarship will grant $1,000 each year to a number of students with a junior or senior class standing, who are enrolled in an aviation management program. Applicants should have a GPA of 3.0 or higher and financial need.
  14. American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics – The AIAA offers an award of $2000 to sophomore and higher Engineering students with a 3.0 GPA.
  15. AOPA Air Safety Foundation -The Air Safety foundation sponsors one $1,000 scholarship for both the McAlester Memorial and Donald Burnside Memorial Scholarships. Students must have junior or senior standing at the time of application, a 3.25 GPA, and be enrolled in a non-engineering degree program.
  16. Aviation / Aerospace Education Foundation – Bessie Coleman Scholarship to entering first-year students, Eugene Bullard scholarship to upper-class students. Both offer cash scholarships of $1,000 to students pursuing a degree in aviation or aviation-related field.
  17. Aviation Distributors and Manufacturers Association Scholarships – ADMA offers two $1,000 scholarships to students of the professional pilot program enrolled in either an aviation maintenance or aviation management program. Applicants must be a third- or fourth-year student in their program, and selections are based on scholastic achievement, and the content of their application package.
  18. Aviation Scholarship Foundation – The Aviation Scholarship Foundation funds a full course of private pilot training, start to finish, for half a dozen inner city youth from Chicago in gliders and airplanes each year. Scholarships are awarded annually each April with an April 15th deadline.
  19. Experimental Aircraft Association Foundation – The EAA Offers a variety of awards and scholarships ranging from $200 to full tuition (including books and equipment). Awarded to students seeking careers in aviation. International students may apply. There is a $5.00 application fee.
  20. Festival of Wings Over Houston – The Festival of Wings over Houston offers several scholarships up to the sum of $5,000. Must be a full-time status junior with a 3.0 GPA.
  21. Hispanic Scholarship Fund -The Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) is the largest Hispanic scholarship-granting organization in the nation. HSF offers different scholarship programs for students of various educational backgrounds. All applicants must be U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents of Hispanic heritage.
  22. National Business Aircraft Association -NBAA offers (2) $2,500 scholarships and (3) $1,500 scholarships to students who are at least in a sophomore, junior, or senior class standing.
  23. National Gay Pilots Association – The NGPA offers a $2,000 scholarship, however, it cannot be used to pay for the training needed for a Private Pilot License. Must be 18 or older and majoring in engineering, or airport management.
  24. NIFA and GAMA Harold Wood ScholarshipOne scholarship is offered to students in any degree program, having completed at least one semester, and having a 3.0 GPA or better.
  25. National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship – NSF Fellowships are available to U.S. citizens entering graduate study in engineering. The fellowship includes a $15,000 stipend. Special programs are available for women and minorities.
  26. Northeast Chapter – American Association of Airport Executives – AAAE offers (4) $1,000 scholarships for undergraduate juniors and seniors enrolled in aviation management, with preference given to residents of the Northeast region.
  27. Professional Aviation maintenance Association – PAMA will award more than $30,000 in scholarships. Individual recipients of $1,000 scholarships are selected on the basis of educational performance, work experience, participation in school and community activities, career commitment, future potential, and financial need.
  28. Rockwell Collins – Dallas Female and Minority Scholarship – Rockwell Collins offers a $4,000 scholarship to a female or minority engineering student. Must have a 3.0 GPA, be full-time, and have completed at least one year or more in Electrical Engineering or Computer Science.
  29. Society of Women Engineers – SWE offers several scholarships to female and minority students enrolled in an engineering, aerospace or computer science programs. The class standing varies depending on the specific scholarship, but ranges from incoming freshmen to junior class standing. The amounts range from $1,000 to $5,000. One application is for all grade levels.
  30. Transportation Clubs International – Transportation Clubs International offers several scholarships to students enrolled in a transportation-related degree program.
  31. University Aviation Association – UAA offers an annual $500 scholarship. Must have a 3.0 GPA, and be a UAA member.Below is the list of scholarships offered through Women in Aviation International. Click on the link and you will see all of these scholarship details on that page.
  32. Aircraft Dispatcher Course – Airline Ground Schools, Inc. Airline Ground Schools (AGS) will award one dispatcher training award leading to an FAA Aircraft Dispatcher certificate.
  33. Aircraft Dispatcher Course – Airline Dispatcher Federation (ADF) Scholarship. ADF will award one dispatcher scholarship donated by Airline Ground Schools, Inc. leading to a FAA Aircraft Dispatcher certificate.
  34. Aerospace Engineering Scholarship – American Airlines and American Eagle Engineering Scholarship. American Airlines and American Eagle will award one $5,000 scholarship to a student pursuing a degree in the field of engineering – aerospace/aeronautical, mechanical, or electrical.
  35. Aerospace Engineering Scholarship – Delta Air Lines Engineering Scholarship. Delta Air Lines will award a $5,000 scholarship to a student currently enrolled in a Baccalaureate degree in Aerospace/ Aeronautical, Electrical, or Mechanical Engineering.
  36. Aerospace Engineering Scholarship – WAI Connecticut Chapter Engineering Scholarship. The scholarship will be awarded to a woman who wishes to pursue a career in the aerospace industry in the field of Engineering.
  37. Flight Training Scholarship – Airbus A320 Type Rating Certificate Scholarships (2). Applicants for the Airbus A320 type rating scholarships must hold a bachelor’s degree, commercial pilot certificate, instrument rating, certified flight instructor certificate and multiengine rating.
  38. Flight Training Scholarship – Anne Baddour Scholarship. The Anne Baddour Scholarship will be awarded to a female pilot with the following accomplishments: a burning desire to become a professional pilot, have at least a Private Pilot Certificate, be on track towards the ATP.
  39. Flight Training Scholarship – AOPA Student Pilot Scholarship. As part of its commitment to growing the pilot population, AOPA will award a $3,000 scholarship to a woman pursuing a private, recreational, or sport pilot certificate who has obtained a student pilot certificate.
  40. Flight Training Scholarship – Betsy Goldbach Aviation Scholarship. I love flying and would like to encourage others to explore the wonders of the sky. This scholarship may be used towards a Private Pilot Certificate or a Seaplane Rating.
  41. Flight Training Scholarship – Bombardier Business Aircraft Services Lear 31A Pilot Training Type-Rating Scholarships (2). In memory of Richard E. Blose, Learjet 31A Instructor Pilot, Bombardier Business Aircraft Services is offering two (2) Learjet 31A pilot type-rating scholarships.
  42. Flight Training Scholarship – CAE SimuFlite Citation Corporate Aircraft Training Scholarship. CAE SimuFlite will award a corporate aircraft training scholarship. It will include Citation initial training resulting in a type rating upon successful completion of the course.
  43. Flight Training Scholarship – Continental Airlines 737 Flight Training Scholarships (2). Continental Airlines is offering four Boeing 737NG type rating training scholarships. Criteria requires a minimum of 1,500 hours total time, 1,000 hours turbine, 1,000 hours multi, 1,000 hours PIC.
  44. Dare to Dream Scholarship – The sponsor of this scholarship would like to make a difference in the life of one deserving person who is pursuing her dream in the world of aviation. A $3000 scholarship will be awarded to an individual working toward an instrument or multi-engine rating, commercial or CFI certificate.
  45. Delta Air Lines Boeing B737-800 Type Rating Certificate Scholarships (2) – Delta Air Lines will award two B737-800 Type Rating Certificates to qualified recipients that are currently enrolled or have a Baccalaureate Degree.
  46. Delta Connection Academy Scholarship – Delta Connection Academy is happy to provide one WAI recipient a $5,000 scholarship to Delta Connection Academy.
  47. ExpressJet Airlines, DBA Continental Express, Regional Jet Transition Course – ExpressJet Airlines is offering two scholarships to participate in the initial ground school instruction on the EMBRAER 145 with a FTD session and CRM course; the first step to your path of becoming a First Officer.
  48. The Keep Flying Scholarship 2010 – The Keep Flying Scholarship was created after 9/11 to offer an intermediate level flight scholarship. Sponsors Deborah Hecker, Evelyne Tinkl and Janet Patton are offering one $3,000 scholarship to an individual working on an instrument or multi-engine rating, commercial or CFI rating certificate.
  49. Kathy K. Hodgkins Memorial Scholarship (floatplane training) – Kathy K. Hodgskins was a pioneer in the aviation community in Maine. She not only had an airline career with Continental Airlines, but she also had a successful floatplane operation with her husband, Tim.
  50. Ride The Sun Scholarship – Looking for assistance to extend your horizons and increase your aviation skills? Use this $500 monetary award to help defer the costs for out of the ordinary flight education.
  51. From Rose to Rise Scholarship – This scholarship will be given to someone who has soloed and is working toward a private pilot certificate, and shows a well-rounded aviation interest besides piloting, such as active participation in aviation groups, and demonstrated interest/participation in aviation history, promotion, and/or education.
  52. Sporty’s Foundation Flight Training Scholarship (2) – Sporty’s Foundation is offering Recreational Pilot Flight Training Scholarships (2) for small aircraft maintenance technicians.
  53. Women Military Aviators – Dream of Flight Scholarship 2010 – Women Military Aviators (WMA) seeks to preserve, for history, the important role women have played in creating and supporting the American Spirit through their contributions to flight, aeronautics and space.
  54. Airbus Leadership Grant – One scholarship will be awarded to a student at the college level of sophomore year or above who is pursuing a degree in an aviation-related field, who has achieved a minimum GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) and who has exhibited leadership potential.
  55. The Boeing Company Career Enhancement Scholarship – The Boeing Company will award a scholarship to a woman who wishes to advance her career in the aerospace industry in the fields of engineering, technology development or management.
  56. Dassault Falcon Jet Corporation Scholarship – Dassault Falcon Jet Corp. is awarding a $1000 scholarship to support a woman seeking to pursue an undergraduate or graduate degree in an aviation-related field.
  57. Desert Jet Corporate Aviation Management Scholarship Desert Jet, an aircraft charter and management company based in the Palm Springs area of California, is sponsoring this scholarship to promote the professional development and leadership skills of business aviation pilots who seek careers in aviation management or desire to start their own aviation-related business.
  58. The Elisha Hall Memorial Scholarship – Elisha Hall (Mrs. Mark Bizzaro-WAI #2335) represented herself as a dedicated and passionate aviation professional. She was a leader, an explorer, and lived life to its fullest. She set both her sights, and her standards, high. To celebrate her life and accomplishments, Women in Aviation, The Wright Chapter, is offering a $1,000 scholarship to a woman who embodies the qualities that Elisha so splendidly exemplified, and is seeking to further her aviation career.
  59. If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It” Scholarship – Nicole Cagnolatti, A&P/Pilot has been the recipient of several WAI scholarships and benefited immensely from the assistance. She wants to personally contribute to the WAI Scholarships (for the 3rd year) by offering other aviation dreamers the opportunity to pursue their dream.
  60. Janet Clark Memorial Scholarship – The Washington State Chapter of Women in Aviation, International (WA-WAI) is offering a scholarship in the amount of $1500 in memory of Janet Clark, a member of the Washington State chapter. Janet worked with the FAA as an Airworthiness (maintenance) Aviation Safety Inspector. This scholarship is open to all aviation career fields and can be applied to an accredited program.
  61. PAI Consulting Aviation Safety Scholarship (3) – PAI Consulting, a women-owned aviation consulting firm that provides support to the government and industry, will award three $1,000 scholarships to women pursuing aviation safety studies.
  62. Women in Aviation, International Achievement Award (3). Two scholarship will be awarded to a full-time college or university student pursuing any type of aviation or aviation related career. A third scholarship will be awarded to an individual, not required to be a student, pursuing any type of aviation.
  63. Women in Corporate Aviation Career Scholarship – The Women in Corporate Aviation Career Scholarship is offered by the members and sponsors of Women in Corporate Aviation to any man or woman pursuing professional development or career advancement in any job classification of corporate/business aviation.
  64. Delta Air Lines Aircraft Maintenance Technology Scholarship – Delta Air Lines will award a $5,000 scholarship to a student currently enrolled in an Aviation Maintenance Technician Program (A&P) or a degree in Aviation Maintenance Technology. In addition to the $5,000 scholarship, the recipient will receive a trip to the 21st Annual International Women in Aviation Conference.
  65. Delta Air Lines – Engine Maintenance Internship – Delta Air Lines would like to extend a 2010 Summer Internship (13 weeks) opportunity to a student currently enrolled in a Baccalaureate degree in Aerospace/Aeronautical, Mechanical or Industrial Engineering. In addition to an internship position, the recipient will receive a trip to the 21st Annual International Women in Aviation Conference.
  66. Pratt & Whitney Maintenance Scholarships (6) – Pratt & Whitney will award six maintenance scholarships to individuals pursuing careers in aviation maintenance. Winners will have the option to attend any one of the maintenance courses offered by Pratt & Whitney or Pratt & Whitney Canada.
  67. Flo Irwin / Aircraft Spruce Scholarship – Flo Irwin was not a pilot, but she was a very astute businessperson who earned everyone’s respect in a “man’s world” as she built her business selling homebuilt aircraft parts. Aircraft Spruce has grown to be one of the leading distributors of aircraft parts worldwide by continuing Flo’s vision and business philosophy.
  68. GAT Wings to the Future Management Scholarship – GAT will give a scholarship to a female student in an aviation management or aviation business program at an accredited college or university.
  69. Women in Aviation Management Scholarship – This scholarship will be awarded to a woman in an aviation management field who has exemplified the traits of leadership, community spirit and volunteerism. The scholarship can be used to attend a leadership-related course or seminar to raise the individual’s level of management.
  70. Yeager Foundation WAI Scholarship Award – In 2005 the Chuck Yeager Foundation established a scholarship to assist those who may not otherwise be able to become involved in aviation. This scholarship will be awarded to a deserving WAI member who has applied for other WAI or Corporate Sponsor scholarships and who has unique circumstances that impede their ability to advance their aviation plans.
  71. FedEx Express B-727 Aircraft – FedEx Express is accepting applications from qualified aviation schools/universities; airport rescue/firefighting groups; government agencies; museums and other aviation education organizations for a B-727 airplane from the company’s retiring fleet. To be considered for this donation, please submit a detailed summary of your organization, including information about your program, how the aircraft would enhance your program and any joint use opportunities with other area programs to increase the utilization of the asset.And here are some more. I could not find the website links to these, however, as much contact information I could gather, I have it posted alongside.
  72. Alpha Eta Rho Scholarship – Alpha Eta Rho, National Headquarters, 4627 Ocean Blvd., #220, San Diego, CA 92109. – Alpha Eta Rho offers five annual $500 scholarships to active members of the Alpha Eta Rho.
  73. Aviation Council of Pennsylvania – 3111 Arcadia Ave., Allentown, PA 18103.
  74. Civil Air Patrol Scholarship – CAP offers several scholarships to its members who have achieved the Billy Mitchell award, or senior rating in Level II of the training program. Amounts range from $750 to $1,500; the number of awards varies based on funding. Applications are available through squadron commanders.
  75. Eastern New England 99’s Aviation Career Scholarship – 14 Cooke Place,Warwick, RI 0288 (New England Residents only).
  76. Ernie Ayer Aviation Scholarship – Contact by e-mail: TAyer73352@aol.com, Contact by phone: (201) 447-4164. The amount of this aviation scholarship is open. The award will be made in installments following the achievement of certain goals. Two letters of recommendation and an official transcript are required.
  77. Eugene Kropf Scholarship – c/o Professor Bernard W. Wulle, Aviation Technology Department, 1 Purdue Airport Rd., West Lafayette, IN 47906-3398. A $500 scholarship is available to students in an Aviation program at any grade level, with a 3.0 GPA. E-mail: bwulle@purdue.tech.edu.
  78. Florida Spaceport Chapter – The Ninety Nines, Inc. – 2289 Cox Road, Cocoa Beach, FL 32926. This scholarship is offered to female students 18 years of age and older to provide assistance in flight training for a career in the aviation field. Must hold at least a private pilot certificate. Applications will be judged on neatness as well as sincerity of purpose and need of financial assistance. Web site: www.ninety-nines.org or http://spaceport99s.tripod.com.
  79. Joseph Frasca Excellence in Aviation Scholarship – Dr. David A. NewMyer c/o College of Applied Sciences and Arts, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Carbondale, IL 62901-6623; (618) 453-8898. Two $1,000 scholarships will be awarded to juniors or seniors with a 3.0 GPA. Applicants must hold FAA certifications in either aviation maintenance or flight, have membership in an aviation organization, and have financial need. E-mail: newmyer@siu.edu.
  80. General Aviation Manufacturers Association – 1400 K street NW, Suite 801, Washington, DC 20005-2485.
  81. Greater Miami Aviation Association Grover Loening Scholarship – 621 East Ridge Village Drive, Miami, FL 33157; (305) 971-9365 Several scholarships of up to $5,000 are available to students who have completed 30 credits, 15 of which must be in aviation. students must have a 3.0 g.p.a. or higher in the field of Aviation and must be U.S. citizens.
  82. Illinois Pilot Association Scholarship – IPS State Headquarters, 801 1/2 S.4th St., Apt. A, Springfield, IL 62703. IPS offers one annual $500 scholarship to a student involved in an aviation degree program.
  83. International Aviation Career Scholarship – Contact: ISA +21, PO Box 38644, Denver, CO 80238. Annual $1,200 scholarship awarded to a female pilot with a commercial license and at least 250 hours flight time and who is pursuing a career as an airline pilot. Sponsored by International Association of Women Airline Pilots.
  84. MAPA Safety Foundation – P.O. Box 46067, San Antonio, TX 78246-0607.
  85. Marion Barnick Memorial Scholarship – $1,000 scholarship to a female who holds at least a private pilot certificate and is either a member of the Ninety Nines (99’s) or a student at San Jose State, Gavilian College, Foothill College or West Valley College in California. For further scholarship information visit the Santa Clara Valley 99’s web page at http://www.pilotsguide.com/scv99s/ or call their voice mail that at (408) 327-9505.
  86. McAllister Memorial Scholarship – AOPA, 421 Aviation Way, MD, 21701. McNeil Consumer Products Company 7050 Camp Hill Road, Fort Washington, PA 19034-2299.
  87. Montana Department of Transportation Aeronautics Division, 2630 Airport Rd. P.O. Box 5178, Helena, MT 59604-5178.
  88. Mooney Aircraft Pilot’s Association – MAPA Safety Foundation Inc. PO Box 460607 San Antonio, TX 78246-0607. To receive an application, please send a self addressed envelope to address above.
  89. Nancy Horton “Touch the face of God” Scholarship – Nancy Horton Scholarship Fund, Inc., 4466 NE 91st Ave. Portland, OR 97220-5024. Scholarship offered in memory of Nancy Horton for female students 18 years of age or older training for their commercial aviation license or above. Applicants must have a 3.0 GPA, be highly recommended by her flight instructor, and have a letter of recommendation.
  90. National Air Transport Association – Lisa Copella, National Air Transport Association Foundation, 4226 King St., Alexandria, VA 22302; (703) 845-9000. NATA offers two grants each year under the Pioneer of Flight Scholarship Program. There are two scholarships for applicants pursuing careers in General Aviation as opposed to commercial airlines. Both grants are for $2,500. The academic scholarship is renewable for one year if academic excellence is maintained.
  91. National Space Club – Dr. Robert H. Goddard Scholarship – 2000 L Street NW, Suite 710, Washington, DC 20036-4907. The National Space Club sponsors a $10,000 award to a student who is a junior enrolled in an aerospace program. Must be a U.S. citizen.
  92. Ninety Nines, Inc. (99’s) – Contact Thom Griffith, Chairman, Amelia Earhart Memorial Scholarship Committee, 134 Robinhood Lane, Costa Mesa, CA 9261. The Ninety-Nines award a scholarship to female pilots. The scholarship amount depends on the recipient’s needs. For further information.
  93. Organization of Black Airline Pilots (OBAP) P.O. Box 50666 Phoenix, AZ 85076-0666.
  94. Pioneers of Flight – UAA c/o Central Missouri State University, TR Gaines #210, Mr. Steve Quick, Warrensburg, MO 64093; (660) 543-4085. Pioneers of Flight offers four scholarships up to $2,500. Applicants must be nominated. Must have a 3.0 GPA, and be a full-time student.
  95. Phi Chi Theta Foundation Scholarship for Women – Scholarship Chairman, 8656 Totempole Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45249. The foundation sponsors one to three $1,000 scholarships for full-time graduate female students pursuing a business administration degree who have completed at least one semester of study. Recipients are selected based on scholastic achievement, leadership potential, motivation, and financial need.
  96. Safe Association Scholarship – c/o Scholarship Coordinator, Embry-Riddle, 3200 Willow Creek Road, Prescott, AZ 86301-3720. A $1,000 scholarship is awarded to full-time upper-class student or graduate student with a 3.0 GPA.
  97. Soaring Society of America Youth Soaring Scholarship – CADET Scholarship, Soaring Society of America, PO Box E, Hobbs, NM 88241. $600 towards a sailplane flying lessons, and lesser prizes of textbooks and memberships. Young persons between ages 14 and 22 and not holders of any FAA pilot licenses. Application forms are available at gliderports only.
  98. Southeastern Airport Managers Association Scholarship – Two annual awards up to $1,500 for students with a B.S. degree in airport management or directly related curriculum. Contact; Southeastern Airport, Manager Association, c/o John R. Games, Treasurer, Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport, PO Box 1913, Owensboro, KY 42302.
  99. Student Pilot Network Scholarship – SPN is offering a single scholarship in the amount of $1000 which will go towards the flight training costs of a current or prospective flight training student enrolled in or accepted at any flight training program.
  100. Virginia Airport Operators Council Aviation Scholarship Award – VOAC Scholarship, c/o Herbert B. Armstrong, Airway Science Program, Hampton University, Hampton, VA 23688. $500 scholarship and two runners-up receive $50 towards a career in aviation. Recipients must be accepted by an accredited college.
  101. Whirly-Girls Scholarships – Whirly-Girls, P.O. Box 7446; Menlo Park, CA; 94026, 415-462-1441. Annual $4,000 scholarship to a female commercial airplane pilot to fund/obtain an initial or additional helicopter rating.

You should also check FAA website for additional information. In case I missed one or two. Plus the scholarship offerings and availability keeps on changing all the time. My advice is that you either subscribe for our newsletter, so whenever we announce something on the site you won’t miss out on time critical information.

First Black Woman Aviator in Aviation History

A role model in General Aviation Flight Training

The other day while browsing through African American Aviation History websites and blogs, I came across a name that I had heard many a times, but never got an opportunity (or simply being lazy maybe) to learn more about. So, I decided to spend some time, and read more about Elizabeth “Bessie” Coleman (Jan 26, 1892 – April 30, 1926).

Bessie Coleman happens to be the first African American (Black) Woman pilot in the history of General Aviation. She also happens to be the first American (not the first African American, or Black female, but The First American of any race or gender) to hold an international pilot’s license. Now, who would have guessed that! Not me.

Early Life

Popularly known as “Queen Bess”, she was born in Atlanta, Texas and was the tenth of thirteen children to sharecropper parents, George and Susan Coleman.

Queen Bess began school at the age of six, used to walk 4 miles a day to an all-black, one-room school. Despite sometimes lacking even basic educational amenities, Bessie was an excellent student, especially at mathematics.

In 1901, Bessie Coleman’s life took a dramatic turn: George Coleman left his family. He had become tired with the racial discrimination that existed in Texas. He returned to Oklahoma (Indian Territory as it was then called), to find better opportunities.

When she turned eighteen, Bessie Coleman took all of her savings and enrolled in the Oklahoma Colored Agricultural and Normal University (now Langston University) in Langston, Oklahoma. She just finished one term and ran out of money and was forced to return home.

Career Moves

Manicurist job in Chicago

In 1915, at twenty-three, Bessie Coleman relocated to Chicago, Illinois, with her brothers, and worked at the White Sox Barber Shop as a manicurist. This is where she started hearing the tales of pilots or aviators from who were returning home from World War I. They told her stories about flying in the war, and Bessie Coleman started to fantasize about being an aviator herself. At the barbershop, Bessie Coleman met many influential Black men, like Robert S. Abbott, founder and publisher of the Chicago Defender, and Jesse Binga, a real estate promoter. Bessie Coleman managed to receive financial backing from Binga and the Defender, which capitalized on her flamboyant personality and her beauty to promote the newspaper, and of course to promote her cause. She could not gain admission to American flight training schools because she was Black and a Woman. Even other Black U.S. aviators would not train her. Robert Abbott encouraged her to go study abroad, to France. French women were already flying at this time in history.

Flight Training in France

Bessie Coleman learned French language at the Berlitz school in Chicago, and then sailed to Paris on November 20, 1920. She learned to fly in a Nieuport Type 82 biplane, and on June 15, 1921 Coleman became not only the first African American woman to earn an international aviation license from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, but also the first African-American woman in the world to earn an aviation pilot’s license and the First American to earn an international pilot’s license. Determined to polish her skills, she spent the next two months taking lessons from a French ace pilot near Paris, and in September sailed back home for New York.

Airshow Performances

Bessie Coleman soon realized that in order to make a living as a civilian aviator—she would need to become a “barnstormer” stunt flier, and perform for paying audiences. But to succeed in this highly competitive arena, she would need advanced lessons and build a reputation. Returning to Chicago, she could not find anyone willing to teach her, so in February 1922, she sailed back for Europe again. This time she spent the next two months in France completing an advanced course in aviation, then left for the Netherlands to meet with Anthony Fokker, one of the world’s most distinguished aircraft designers. She also traveled to Germany, where she visited the Fokker Corporation and received additional training from one of the company’s chief pilots. She returned to the United States with the confidence and enthusiasm she needed to launch her career in exhibition airshow flying.

In September 1921, she became a media sensation when she returned to the United States. “Queen Bess,” as she was known, primarily flew Curtiss JN-4 “Jenny” biplanes and other army surplus aircraft left over from the war. In Los Angeles, California, she broke a leg and three ribs when her plane crashed on February 22, 1922. She made her first appearance in an American airshow on September 3, 1922, at an event honoring veterans of the all-black 369th American Expeditionary Force of World War I. Held at Curtiss Field on Long Island near New York City and sponsored by her friend Abbott and the Chicago Defender newspaper, the show billed Bessie Coleman as “the world’s greatest woman flyer” and featured aerial displays by eight other American ace pilots. Six weeks later she returned to Chicago to deliver a stunning demonstration of daredevil maneuvers—including figure eights, loops, and near-ground dips to a large and enthusiastic crowd at the Checkerboard Airdrome (now Chicago Midway Airport).

Fatal Plane Crash

On April 30, 1926, Bessie Coleman, at thirty-four, was in Jacksonville, Florida. She had recently purchased a plane in Dallas, Texas and had it flown to Jacksonville in preparation for an airshow. Her mechanic and publicity agent, William Wills, was flying the plane with her in the co-pilot seat. About ten minutes into the flight, the plane did not pull out of a planned nosedive; instead it accelerated into a tailspin. Coleman was thrown from the plane at 500 feet and died instantly when she hit the ground (she was not wearing her seatbelt). William Wills was unable to gain control of the plane and it plummeted to the ground. Wills died upon impact and the plane burst into flames. Although the wreckage of the plane was badly burned, it was later discovered that a wrench used to service the engine had slid into the gearbox and jammed it, causing the plane to spin out of control.

Legacy and honors

Her funeral in Jacksonville, Florida on May 2, 1926 was attended by 5,000 mourners. Many of them, including Ida B. Wells, were prominent members of Black society. Three days later, her remains arrived in Orlando, Florida, where thousands more attended a funeral at the city’s Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church. Her last journey on May 5 was to Chicago’s Pilgrim Baptist Church. An estimated 10,000 people filed past the coffin all night and all day. After funeral services, she was buried in the Lincoln Cemetery.

Over the years, recognition of Bessie Coleman’s accomplishments has grown. Her impact on aviation history, and particularly African Americans in aviation, quickly became apparent following her death. In 1927, Bessie Coleman Aero Clubs sprang up throughout the country. On Labor Day, 1931, these clubs sponsored the first all-African American Air Show, which attracted approximately 15,000 spectators. That same year, a group of African American pilots established an annual flyover of Bessie Coleman’s grave in Lincoln Cemetery in Chicago.

In 1989, First Flight Society inducted Bessie Coleman into their shrine that honors those individuals and groups that have achieved significant “firsts” in aviation’s development.

A second-floor conference room at the Federal Aviation Administration, Washington, DC, is named after her. In 1990, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley renamed Old Mannheim Road at O’Hare International Airport “Bessie Coleman Drive.” In 1992, he proclaimed May 2 as “Bessie Coleman Day in Chicago.”

Mae Jemison, physician and former NASA astronaut, wrote in the book, Queen Bess: Daredevil Aviator (1993): “I point to Bessie Coleman and say without hesitation that here is a woman, a being, who exemplifies and serves as a model to all humanity: the very definition of strength, dignity, courage, integrity, and beauty. It looks like a good day for flying.”

In 1995, she was honored with her image on a U.S. postage stamp, and was inducted into the Women in Aviation Hall of Fame.

In November 2000, Coleman was inducted in The Texas Aviation Hall of Fame.

She is the subject of Barnstormer, a musical that debuted 20 October 2008 at the National Alliance for Musical Theater Festival in New York; the book and lyrics are by Cheryl Davis and the music is by Douglas Cohen.

In 2004, a small park in the Southside Chicago Hyde Park neighborhood was named “Bessie Coleman Park.”

Additionally, the Bessie Coleman park council was formed in 2005 as one of many responses to a serious increase in crime, shootings, and disorderly loitering in and near the park, at 54th and Drexel.

Notes
^ “Some Notable Women In Aviation History”. Women in Aviation International.
http://www.wai. org/resources/ history.cfm. Retrieved on 2008-04-10.
^ a b “Pioneer Hall of Fame”. Women in Aviation International.
http://www.wai. org/resources/ pioneers. cfm#1995. Retrieved on 2008-04-10.
^ “Texas Roots”. BessieColeman. com. Atlanta Historical Museum. 2008.
http://www.bessieco leman.com/ Other%20Pages/ texas.html. Retrieved on 2008-01-22.
^ a b c d e f Rich, Doris (1993). Queen Bess: Daredevil Aviator. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press. pp. 37, 47, 57, 109-111, 145. ISBN 1560982659.
^ Powell, William J. (1934). Black Wings. Los Angeles: Ivan Deach, Jr.. OCLC 3261929.
^ Broadnax, Samuel L. (2007). Blue Skies, Black Wings: African American Pioneers of Aviation. Westport, CT: Praeger. p. 17. ISBN 0275991954.
^ “First Flight Shrine: Bessie Coleman”. First Flight Society. 2009.
http://www.firstfli ght.org/shrine/ bessie_colman. cfm. Retrieved on 2008-01-22.
^ Texas Aviation Hall of Fame (14 July 2000). The Selection of Bessie Coleman for induction to the Texas Aviation Hall of Fame. Press release.
http://www.bessieco leman.com/ Other%20Pages/ release_1. html. Retrieved on 2008-01-22.
^ Adam Hetrick (17 July 2008). “New Music: NAMT Announces Selections for 2008 Festival of New Musicals”. Playbill.
http://www.playbill .com/news/ article/119576. html. Retrieved on 22 January 2008.
^ “Bessie Coleman Park and Council”. Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference. 24 March 2007.
http://www.hydepark .org/parks/ BessieColemanPar k.htm. Retrieved on 2008-01-22.

Selecting Sunglasses for Pilots

Pilot Sunglasses – Aviator

A Summary of how to select best Sunglasses for Pilots

Here is the summary of things to keep in mind while selecting the best sunglasses for pilots, and for that matter, just about anyone who wants to protect his or her vision and have the best quality visual perception. There are other articles (listed at the bottom of this post) on this blog which talk about all this in great detail. Maybe you should read all those articles as well to gain maximum knowledge on the subject. 

SUMMARY.

  1. While adding to the mystique of an aviator, sunglasses protect a pilot’s eyes from glare associated with bright sunlight and the harmful effects from exposure to solar radiation.
  2. Lenses for sunglasses that incorporate 100% ultraviolet protection are available in glass, plastic, and polycarbonate materials. Glass and CR-39® plastic lenses have superior optical qualities, while polycarbonate lenses are lighter and more impact-resistant.
  3. The choice of tints for use in the aviation environment should be limited to those that optimize visual performance while minimizing color distortion, such as a neutral gray tint with 15 to 30% light transmittance.
  4. Polarized sunglasses are not recommended because of their possible interaction with displays or other materials in the cockpit environment.
  5. Since sunglasses are an important asset, whether or not refractive correction is required, careful consideration should be used when selecting an appropriate pair for flying.
  6. The technology associated with ophthalmic lenses is continually evolving, with the introduction of new materials, designs, and manufacturing techniques.
  7. Aviators should consult with their eye care practitioner for the most effective alternatives currently available when choosing a new pair of sunglasses.

References

  1. La Comission Interntionale de l’Eclairage (CIE). Figures correspond broadly to the effects of UVR on biological tissue.
  2. World Meteorological Organization. Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 1994, WMO Global Ozone Research and Monitoring Project – Report No. 37, Geneva, Switzerland: 1995.
  3. Rash CE, Manning SD. For Pilots, Sunglasses are Essential in Vision Protection, Flight Safety Foundation Human Factors & Aviation Medicine, July-August 2002; 49(4): 1-8.
  4. MEDICAL FACTS FOR PILOTS Publication AM-400-05/1 Written by Ronald W. Montgomery, B.S. Van B. Nakagawara, O.D. Prepared by FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute Aerospace Medical Education Division AAM-400, P.O. Box 25082 Oklahoma City, OK 73125
Tony Scott – Top Gun – the movie

Pilot’s Sunglasses’ Additional Features

I wrote about the basic information about a Pilot’s Sunglasses in one of my posts titled Sunglasses for Pilots (click here), and then I wrote about the Materials that are available today, and how to pick the correct kind in the post titled Aviators’ Sunglasses Lens Material Options (click here). And I had promised that I will write more about the Extra Features that we need to keep in mind when selecting the best Sunglasses for Pilots, and for that matter, anyone who wants the best eye protection and quality vision.

Here is the list of those extra features that you need to keep in mind as well:

COATINGS

Special coatings can be applied to lens materials for reasons such as those previously mentioned. Crown glass and most plastic lenses require a specific coating to block residual ultraviolet radiation. Plastic and polycarbonate lenses require a scratch-resistant coating to prolong their useful life. The scratch-resistant coating applied to polycarbonate lenses absorb tints and dyes. High-index materials benefit from AR coatings to improve transmissivity due to their high reflective properties.

While AR coats can improve optical clarity, they are extremely porous, attracting water and oils, making the lenses difficult to clean. Lenses with AR coatings should be “sealed” with a smudge- and water-repellant coat that extends the useful life of the AR coat and makes the lenses easier to keep clean. Coatings must be applied correctly, and lenses must be meticulously cleaned for the process to be successful. Coated lenses should be handled with care and not subjected to excessive heat to avoid delamination or crazing.

TINTS

The choice of tints for sunglasses is practically infinite. The three most common tints are gray, gray-green, and brown, any of which would be an excellent choice for the aviator. Gray (neutral density filter) is recommended because it distorts color the least. Some pilots, however, report that gray-green and brown tints enhance vividness and minimize scattered (blue and violet) light, thus enhancing contrast in hazy conditions. Yellow, amber, and orange (i.e., “Blue Blockers”) tints eliminate short-wavelength light from reaching the wearer’s eyes and reportedly sharpen vision, although no scientific studies support this claim.3 In addition, these tints are known to distort colors, making it difficult to distinguish the color of navigation lights, signals, or color-coded maps and instrument displays. For flying, sunglass lenses should screen out only 70 – 85% of visible light and not appreciably distort color. Tints that block more than 85% of visible light are not recommended for flying due to the possibility of reduced visual acuity, resulting in difficulty seeing instruments and written material inside the cockpit.

POLARIZATION

Polarized lenses are not recommended for use in the aviation environment. While useful for blocking reflected light from horizontal surfaces such as water or snow, polarization can reduce or eliminate the visibility of instruments that incorporate anti-glare filters. Polarized lenses may also interfere with visibility through an aircraft windscreen by enhancing striations in laminated materials and mask the sparkle of light that reflects off shiny surfaces such as another
aircraft’s wing or windscreen, which can reduce the time a pilot has to react in a “see-and-avoid” traffic situation.

PHOTOCHROMIC

Glass photo chromic lenses (PhotoGray® and PhotoBrown®), like their plastic counterparts (Transitions®), automatically darken when exposed to ultraviolet and become lighter in dim light. Most of the darkening takes place in the first 60 seconds, while lightening may take several minutes. Although most photo chromic lenses can get as dark as regular sunglasses, i.e., 20% light transmittance in direct sunlight, warm temperatures (>70°F) can seriously limit their ability to darken and reduced ultraviolet exposure in a cockpit can further limit their effectiveness. In addition, the faded state of photo chromic glass lenses may not be clear enough to be useful when flying in cloud cover or at night.

FRAMES

The selection of sunglass frames is probably more a matter of personal preference than lens material or tint. The frames of an aviator’s sunglasses, however, must be functional and not interfere with communication headsets or protective breathing equipment. Frame styles that incorporate small lenses may not be practical, since they allow too much visible light and ultraviolet radiation to pass around the edges of the frame. A sunglass frame should be sturdy enough to take some abuse without breaking, yet light enough to be comfortable. An aviator’s sunglasses should fit well so that sudden head movements from turbulence or aerobatic maneuvers do not displace them. Finally, use of a strap is recommended to prevent prescription sunglasses from being accidentally dislodged, or a necklace chain can be used to allow them to be briefly removed and subsequently replaced.