Loving's Love: A Black American's Experience in Aviation (Paperback)

Loving's Love: A Black American's Experience in Aviation By Neal V. Loving Cover Image

Loving's Love: A Black American's Experience in Aviation (Paperback)


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The uplifting autobiography of a remarkable aviator who was the first African American and first double amputee licensed as a racing pilot

In 1926, a young Neal Loving saw a de Havilland DH-4 biplane that propelled his dreams of taking to the sky. Loving’s Love is the inspiring autobiography about his journey to get there. Only a recent high school graduate when he built his first full-size flying machine at a time when most flying schools, airports, and aviation jobs excluded African Americans, Loving went on to design and fly five aircraft, open an aviation school, and become the first African American to be licensed as a racing pilot.

Loving faced no small number of obstacles. Barred by racist gatekeeping from serving in the Civil Air Patrol during World War II, Loving and a friend created an all-Black squadron to serve their country. And despite undergoing a double leg amputation after a glider crash, Loving shares his story with unflinching optimism. He got fitted with wooden prosthetic legs and was back to flying just two years after his accident. The book offers readers an intimate and engaging look at Loving's career, with a focus on his WR-1 Loving’s Love, a single seat, midget racer he built in 1950 that won him the 1954 Most Outstanding Design award from the Experimental Aircraft Association.

At 40 years old, Loving enrolled as an aeronautical engineering student and after graduating spent the next 20 years as a civilian specialist for the Air Force. After retiring, he continued flying for almost a decade. Neal Loving experienced a lifetime of thrills and challenges, and Loving’s Love captures the candid life story of a courageous man who defied the odds again and again.
Neal Vernon Loving (1916-1998) was an esteemed airplane designer and aerospace engineer, recognized as one of the African American pioneers in aviation. He was the first African American and the first double amputee to be qualified as a racing pilot by the National Aeronautic Association and the Professional Racing Pilots Association.

Product Details ISBN: 9781588347459
ISBN-10: 1588347451
Publisher: Smithsonian Books
Publication Date: February 7th, 2023
Pages: 320
Language: English
In his memoir Loving emerges as a person of extraordinary ability with an unwavering faith in a dream and an almost fanatic work ethic. He spent his adolescence in Depression-era Detroit where he learned to fly at a time when blacks were not even admitted to many airports. In 1944 he lost both legs in the crash of a glider he had designed. He then ran a flying school and designed and built the one-seater racing plane he nicknamed "Loving's Love," which is being restored for permanent display at the Experimental Aircraft Association's Air Education Museum in Wisconsin. Loving also studied aeronautical engineering at Wayne State and, on graduation, worked for 20 years as an aerospace research engineer. Although he relates his numerous experiences with racism, he nevertheless seems to have found both his personal life and his career thoroughly satisfying. Photos not seen by PW. Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

KIRKUS REVIEWS An inspiring story of an African-American double amputee aviator whose triumphs will impress even the most cynical and jaded of readers. Neal Loving never met an obstacle that he couldn't overcome. In this memoir, he describes in astounding detail his journey through the racially discriminatory world of aviation in the 1930s, a crippling glider accident in 1944, and life as a successful aviation educator and engineer. Born in Detroit in 1916 to a middle-class African-American family, Loving early developed a fondess for aviation. Though discouraged from trying to break through the prevailing prejudices, he forged ahead and became one of several African-Americans aviators. In 1944, he lost both of his legs in a glider accident that laid him up in a hospital for several months. Simultaneously, his fianc‚e left him and his mother died. On artificial legs, he rebuilt his life and took once again to the air. By the end of the story, he has successfully designed and built his own aircraft, the Love, opened an aviation school, married a woman from Jamaica, become an aeronautical engineer, and worked at the highest levels of aviation safety. Throughout, Loving limns the challenges of both de facto and de jure segregation and paints portraits of the many people who defied those obstacles to become successful pilots. Written in unadorned, straightforward prose, this memoir is a testament to human fortitude, courage, and joy. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.