Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Bessie Coleman's Aviation Achievements

As a rule, I TRY to limit my posts to topics that touch on Oklahoma women, women or Oklahoma in general. This is a stretch - but a good one. Tom Clapper with the State Senate sends me tidbits occasionally (thank you, Tom!) including the following. The merit is that it tells of a women who does an impersonation of Bessie Coleman who was born in Texas but attended Langston University when it was still the Oklahoma Colored Agricultural and Norman University. She went on to become the first African American (male or female) to become an airplane pilot and the first American of any race or gender to hold an international pilot's license.

You can read more about Bessie here and here. Here is Tom's article from a newspaper in Xenia, Ohio; it actually sounds like a great event:

Wings of Women Conference to be held -- The word is WOW! The second annual Wings Of Women Conference will be held Friday, July 18, at the National Aviation Hall of Fame, located at the U.S. Air Force Museum, and the Hope Hotel Conference Center in Fairborn. Young women grades 9 through 12 are invited to participate.

Activities include flying an aircraft simulator and learning to build your own aircraft wing to spec. Participants also will have the opportunity to take an EAA-sponsored Young Eagles flight in a small aircraft at Moraine Airpark on July 26, weather permitting. Luncheon keynote speaker will be Lt. Col. Lynn “Jinx” Gawell, Commander, Information Exploitation Squadron at the National Air & Space Intelligence Center, Wright-Patterson AFB. Lt. Col. Gawell is a 1991 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and a Master Navigator with more than 2900 flight hours. Her career spans 16 years during which she has flown the C/KC/NKC-135 Stratotanker.

Other mentors and speakers who will work closely with the participants include Emily Howell Warner, the first woman to fly for a modern major airline; Joan Mace, former director of the aviation department at Ohio University and who has taught many students to fly including current Air Bus pilot Connie Tobias; and Sandra Campbell, an FAA executive who does an inspirational impersonation of the first black woman to earn her private pilot’s license, Bessie Coleman. Local aviation mentors include World War II pilot, WASP Nadine Nagle of Kettering; nationally known wing walker Patty Wagner of Troy; Air Force Reserve C-141 pilot, Lt. Col. Kathy Staiger of Beavercreek, and aviation authors Ann Cooper of Beavercreek and Sarah Rickman of Centerville.

The $10 registration includes a Continental breakfast, lunch and conference materials. Register online at http://www.nationalaviation.org/. Call 256-0944 ext. 17 with questions.“Come meet and be inspired by successful women. WOW will help you develop your personal “flight plan” toward future goals. Come with your eyes on the sky,” said an event organizer.

1 comment:

  1. Nicole7:43 PM

    Hi...I'm Nicole, I attended the Wings of Women conference last year and the impersonation of Bessie Coleman actually brought tears to my eyes! It was so inspiring to me as a teenager to know what Bessie Coleman was able to accomplish despite the fact that the world wasn't very accepting of African Americans! Did you know she had to go to France to get her pilot's license because no flight school in America would accept her...even more she had to learn to speak and read fluent French to learn to fly at the French flight school, and SHE DID! I actually have the honor of getting to introduce Lt Col Lynn "Jinx" Gawell before she speaks at lunch, which is actually how I found this site! :) What a small world? Great blog, keep it up!

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