Neal V. Loving

 2/4/1916 - 1998

Inducted 2003

Neal V. Loving was one of this country’s foremost aviators who let nothing stop him in achieving in his chosen field. As a black student growing up in segregated Detroit, he was advised by his high school teachers to stop studying Aero Tech, at the time an exclusively white field. He persevered, and became the first African American to teach at Aero Mechanics High School. When flying a routine training mission for the Civil Air Patrol in 1944, Neal Loving’s glider crashed and injuries made it necessary to amputate both legs below the knee. He was told he would never fly again, but once again proved his critics wrong. Within two years he was back to designing, building and flying planes. In 1950 he built the midget racer Loving’s Love and became qualified as a racing pilot. He went back to school to get a degree in Aeronautical Engineering, and worked at Wright-Patterson AFB for the next 20 years. After retirement, he continued an active career in professional societies and authored his autobiography, Loving’s Love: A Black American’s Experience in Aviation.