Alright, so we have many more luxuries and support at our disposal than the original “Flying Hoboes” that Jack Lynn told about in The Hallelujah Flight. We don’t really compare at all, actually. But we did set out to honor James Banning and Thomas Allen, the original Flying Hoboes, who flew around the country without any money, bumming money and airplane parts off of people and raising awareness for black equality in aviation. We’d like to think we’re at least following through with the awareness part.
Who are we? We’re Ronald Jarmon and A.J. Brickler, two pilots who are passionate about flying and want to spread the word. Ronald is an FAA-certified flight instructor and owner-operator of Island Air Express. A.J is an instrument-rated private pilot currently working on his commercial pilot certificate. We set out on this flight around America in A.J.’s Cirrus SR22 in honor of the James Banning and Thomas Allen, who were the first black aviators to fly coast-to-coast.
Banning and Allen successfully completed their trip in 1932, without even a fraction of the resources we have today. The progress they made, along with that of the red-tailed Tuskegee Airmen of WWII, helped pave the way to equality for black Americans in both civil and military aviation.
We’ve completed our cross-country trip, but we’re just getting started. Today, in 2016, we still have a long way to go toward equality. And we’re on a mission to continue to honor our heritage, spread awareness for equality in aviation, and to expose young people to the magic of flight. We hope you’ll join us and share in our passion for flight.