More Than Bessie Coleman: 7 Other Famous Black Female Pilots


Patrice Clarke Washington  (b. Sept. 11,1961)

In 1994, Clarke Washington started off as the first officer on DC-8 for United Parcel Service, however she was promoted to captain—making her the nation’s first Black commercial airline captain. At a young age, she was told that she could not go into aviation because of her race and gender but she proved her naysayers wrong.


armourVernice Armour (b. 1973)

In 1993, Armour joined the U.S. Army’s ROTC while she attended Middle Tennessee State University.  In the course of her military career, Armour achieved many things Black woman did not have a chance to do in the armed services like being the first Black woman to be part of the army’s motorcycle squad in 1996. In terms of flying, Armour became the first Black woman combat pilot during the Iraq War in 2003, operating in the HMLA-169 unit. She chronicles her journey to success in her 2011 book Zero to Breakthrough: The 7-Step Battle-Tested Method for Accomplishing Goals That Matter.