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Louisville’s Bowman Field expands 'The Sky’s the Limit' exhibit celebrating the History of Black Achievement in Aviation

Feb. 13, 2022
4 min read
Louisville’s Bowman Field expands 'The Sky’s the Limit' exhibit celebrating the History of Black Achievement in Aviation
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Kentucky’s Bowman Field – one of the oldest continually operating general aviation airports in the U.S. – is marking Black History Month with an expanded version of the exhibit “The Sky’s the Limit: A Celebration of History of Black Achievement in Aviation.”

The airfield, located about 15 minutes east of Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport (SDF), has a historic Art Deco administration building with a grand lobby that is ideal for displaying a series of large format photo panels and carefully researched information boards showcasing the history of more than a dozen women and men in the Black aviation community, their paths to achievements and some of the adversities they had to overcome.

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(Photo courtesy of Dan Dry/PriceWeber)

Visitors will learn about the Tuskegee Airmen, the African American military pilots and airmen who fought in World War II; Bessie Colman, the first African American woman and first Native American to hold a pilot license (turned away from U.S. flying schools, she earned her license in France); and Katherine Johnson, the African American mathematician who worked at NASA and played a crucial role in calculations for orbital spaceflights and the first moon landing.

Related: 5 U.S. destinations where you can learn about Black history

Other panels tell the story of Robert Lawrence, a U.S. Air Force Major who was the first African American chosen by NASA to be an astronaut (in the Air Force’s Manned Orbiting Laboratory Program), and Guion S. Bluford, who later became the first African American astronaut to go into space. The stories of Vance Marchbanks, the first Black flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force, and Willa Brown, the first African American woman to earn a commercial pilot’s license in the United States.

(Photo courtesy of Dan Dry/PriceWeber)

“We hope to educate and inspire more people on the importance of Black achievement in aviation and celebrate the advancements that each of these leaders piloted,” said Dan Mann, executive director of the Louisville Regional Airport Authority, in a statement.

The “Sky’s the Limit” exhibit debuted in 2021 and returns this year in an expanded format with a series of short videos that include interviews with Nia Spiller, a flight instructor who learned to fly at Bowman Field and Julius Calloway III, who is the son of Major Julius Calloway, a Tuskegee Airman who operated Calloway Flying Services at Bowman Field.

Related: Black-owned hotels and resorts in the U.S.

Two other videos that include interviews in the “Sky’s the Limit” exhibition feature Keith Buckner, retired air traffic controller at Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport (SDF), and Capt. Houston Mills, vice president of flight safety and operations at UPS Airlines, who played a key role in choosing the aviation pioneers featured in the exhibit.

In addition to speaking about their personal history in aviation, each person interviewed in the videos comments on why Bowman Field is important to them and what they hope visitors will learn from the exhibit.

This year the exhibit also includes a student art contest, with a grand prize of a scholarship to this summer’s Louisville Aviation Camp, held at Bowman Field.

(Photo courtesy of Dan Dry/PriceWeber)

The free exhibit is open daily through Feb. 28. The hours are: Monday – Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday – Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The exhibit is in the Art Deco Administration Building, which is also home to a French fine dining restaurant, Le Relais.

Bowman Field is a busy general aviation airport listed by the National Park Service as the Bowman Field Historic District for its three notable buildings – the Administration Building (styled in ‘aerodynamic Moderne’), the Curtiss Flying Service Hangar, and the Army Corps Hangar. “During the 1920s benches were installed at Bowman Field to accommodate crowds of tourists who flocked there to watch the airplanes,” NPS notes.

Featured image by (Photo Courtesy of Dan Dry/PriceWeber)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

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  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases