The extraordinary story of James Banning, the first African-American pilot to fly across country
During the Great Depression, the ace black pilot James Banning decided to fly from coast to coast to serve as an inspiration to people everywhere. So with a little ingenuity and a whole lot of heart, he fixed up the dilapidated OXX6 Eagle Rock plane with his co-pilot and mechanic, Thomas Allen, earning them the derisive nickname, "The Flying Hobos." But with the help of friends and family along the way who signed their names on the wings of the plane in exchange for food, fuel and supplies, Banning and Allen made it through treacherous weather and overcame ruthless prejudice to receive a heroes welcome upon landing in New York on October 9, 1932.
This exceptional story of determination and pride, shown through John Holyfields energetic flight scenes and sweeping landscapes, will put you in the cockpit right alongside Banning and Allen as they complete the journey of a lifetime.
Phil Bildner, author of the New York Times bestselling Barnstormers series with Loren Long, lives in Brooklyn, New York.
John Holyfield lives in Burke, Virginia.