Soaring over California – Know your Aviators
Have you ever looked up in the que area for Soaring over California and wondered ‘What are these names that are hanging from these banners?’. Well I decided to do some research about these 22 pioneers of aviation. I’ll be posting a new person every day, so be sure to keep checking this thread.
JAMES HERMAN BANNING (1900 – 1933)
James Herman Banning was one of the first African American pilots. Born in 1900 in Oklahoma, he learned to fly from an army aviator after being repeatedly turned away from flight schools due to his race. He later became a demonstration pilot on the west coast, flying a biplane named "Miss Ames" (named after Ames, Iowa, where he attended college at Iowa State)
In 1932, James Banning, accompanied by his mechanic Thomas Allen, because the first African American pilot to fly coast to coast. Using a plane supplemented with surplus parts, the "Flying Hobos" — as they were affectionately known — made the 3,300 mile trip in 41 hours and 27 minutes aloft. However, the trip actually required 21 days to complete because the pilots had to raise money for the next leg of the trip each time they stopped.
Banning was killed in a plane crash during an air show in San Diego in 1933. He was a passenger in a biplane flown by a navy pilot, which stalled and entered an unrecoverable spin.