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Aviators

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Sun, July 26 2020

Alverna Williams: Returning to the Skies – Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Part 2

Alverna Babbs challenged the Civil Aeronautics Administration in 1944 for a waiver to earn her student pilot’s license. The CAA was reluctant due to Babb’s disability—a double leg amputation at the age of 13 months. With her own persistence and the assistance of Roscoe Turner, Babbs earned her waiver and her full pilot’s license in 1946, the first person with a disability to do so (as documented in the previous blog in this series celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act). After remarrying and having children, Alverna Williams took a 30 year hiatus from flying. She returned to aviation in the 1970s, determined once again to take her place in the sky. 

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Alverna Williams in Ercoupe Cockpit
Sun, July 26 2020

Alverna Babbs: Fighting to Fly – Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Part 1

Thirty years ago, on July 26, 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act came into effect. This important civil rights law prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. Forty-six years earlier, without the protection of law and its accommodations, Alverna Babbs, who had lost both legs as a child, fought to receive a waiver for her student license. When she succeeded, she became the first American pilot with disabilities to earn a pilot’s license.

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Alverna Williams and Her Ercoupe 415CD
Mon, July 6 2020

Remembering Edward Lewis “Whitey” Feightner

Curator Laurence Burke looks back on the extensive career of Navy pilot Edward L. “Whitey” Feightner

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Whitey Feightner
Wed, June 17 2020

Neal V. Loving: Pilot, Engineer, Aircraft Designer

Curator Russell Lee shares the story of aircraft designer Neal V. Loving.

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Neal Loving Flying WR-3
Tue, June 9 2020

Mutiny at Freeman Field: The Tuskegee Airmen on Trial, Part 2

In 1945, the Tuskegee Airmen of the 477th Bombardment Group protested discrimination at Freeman Field through pre-planned displays of resistance against the segregated officers' clubs.

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Freeman Field Mutiny
Tue, June 9 2020

A Pattern of Resistance: The Tuskegee Airmen on Trial, Part 1

The Tuskegee Airmen’s fight for equality involved more than their skills in the air. It required coordinated, collective actions of civil disobedience in which 162 officers risked their careers and their lives to stand up against systemic racism in the US Army Air Forces (AAF).

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477th Bombardment Group
Thu, April 2 2020

Pat the Pilot: American Aviatrix, WAFS Member, and Allied Liaison

Aline “Pat” Rhonie made a perfect three-point landing in her 125 hp Luscombe Phantom when she touched down in Manchester, New Hampshire, on June 6, 1940. Owned by Rhonie, the plane was a Warner-powered, high-wing, two-seat cabin monoplane that she flew as the American Liaison for the French Aero Club. Rhonie piloted civilian and military aircraft throughout the United States as an American aviatrix and eventual member of the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron, yet her mission traversed international borders to support the Allied cause.  

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Aline Rhonie
Thu, August 29 2019

Back to School

As the summer comes to an end, it’s time for many to go back to school.  Most students have mixed feelings of excitement and trepidation at the thought of returning. Imagine how the students at the earliest aviation schools felt!

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Coffey School of Aeronautics Waco UPF-7
Thu, July 25 2019

AirSpace Season 2|Ep.10
Night Witches

Today we’re talking about a chilling chapter from flight history— Night Bomber Regiment 588. 

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AirSpace Season 2|Ep.10
Night Witches

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Logo for AirSpace Podcast 2020
Tue, July 23 2019

Neil Armstrong and the X-15

Before Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon and before he flew on Gemini 8, he was a NASA test pilot. Noted for his engineering excellence and technical capability as a pilot, Armstrong became one of only 12 pilots to fly the ultimate experimental aircraft – the North American X-15.

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Neil Armstrong with X-15

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