Feature Heroes Of Flight

Learn more about our aviation legends.

Heroes Of Flight

More from Gwen on lesser-known aviation legends.

Charles Lindbergh’s dramatic feat made him the most famous aviator of an aviation-crazed era .

But there were other figures too, less well-known, but no less venturesome.

Frustrated by racial prejudice in 1920s, African-American Bessie Coleman went to France to study aviation.

She became the first American woman with an international pilots license.

She then returned home to become a popular barnstorming pilot around the Midwest.

And she began raising money for a school for black aviators.

In 1926, at a rehearsal for an air show in Florida, Coleman’s plane suddenly lurched into a tailspin, flinging her 2,000 feet to her death.

The colorful Roscoe Turner combined skill with showmanship to become an audience favorite at air shows in the 1930s.

When he wasn’t grabbing attention with his striking uniform and his occasional cockpit partner, a lion named “Gilmore,” Turner was setting transcontinental speed records.

In 1933, Wiley Post made the first solo flight around the world.

Two years later Post was on a journey with the beloved American humorist, Will Rogers, when the plane crashed off the coast of Alaska, killing both men.

The telling of history can sometimes be myopic, focusing solely on a few heroes.

As we celebrate the aviator Charles Lindbergh , it’s important to remember those other pioneers whose courage and sacrifice was often just as commendable.

Image: Left front view of flight 46, Orville turning to the left, in the last photographed flight of 1905. Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division