James Herman Banning and Thomas Allen Complete the First Transcontinental Flight by Black Airmen

Flying from Los Angeles to New York, Banning set a new record for black pilots and paved the way for other pioneering black aviation record setters.

Long-distance flying offered a dramatic way for African American pilots to showcase their flying skills. James Herman Banning emerged as one of the most talented barnstorming pilots. In 1932 Banning and Thomas C. Allen completed the first transcontinental flight by black airmen.

Event Date: 
Friday, January 1, 1932
Image Reference: 
James Herman Banning with Thomas C. Allen
Full Size Image Reference: 
James Herman Banning with Thomas C. Allen
Secondary Body: 

Airmindedness | Banning and other long-distance pilots used their flying exploits to promote airmindedness in the African American community. Each successful flight demonstrated the expanding skills of black pilots and promoted the idea that aviation should be open to all, regardless of race.

"Flying Hobos" | Banning made his first transcontinental flight in 1932 with Thomas C. Allen in an Alexander Eaglerock biplane. The historic flight led to a series of long-distance flights by black aviators. Banning and Allen referred to themselves as the “Flying Hobos” because they raised financial backing as they flew across the country.

Sub Category: 
African Americans
People Connections: 
James Herman Banning
Event Year: 
1 932
Event Tier: 


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