He Returned to Flying After a Double Amputation

Neal V. Loving was born in 1916 and grew up with a passion for aviation, but found that the US Army Air Corps did not accept Black enlistees for its pilot training program. So he learned aeronautics engineering and built his own plane when he was only 20 years old. When the US entered World War II, Loving founded a Black unit of the Civil Air Patrol and trained pilots himself. In 1944, a training flight ended in a crash, and Loving was injured so badly that he eventually lost both legs. In an excerpt from his autobiography, Loving’s Love: A Black American’s Experience in Aviation, Loving tells of his experience in recovering from the crash, coming to terms with losing his legs, learning to walk again, and how he eventually returned to the cockpit to fly again. He went on to have a long and storied career as an aviator.

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