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Fri, 12.12.1919

Edward A. Gibbs, Aviation, Instructor and Businessman born

Edward A. Gibbs

*Edward Gibbs was born on this date in 1919. He was an aviator, businessman, and instructor.

Edward Albertis Gibbs was from New York City. He attended New York City public schools and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from New York University and a Juris Doctorate Degree from New York Law School. He completed the Civilian Pilot Training Program at Hampton Institute, earning a commercial pilot certificate with a flight instructor's rating.

Gibbs was a flight instructor for the Schumaker Flying Service and taught navigation and regulations at the Coffey School of Aviation in Oaklawn, Illinois.  During World War II, he served as a civilian flight instructor in the U.S. Aviation Cadet Program at the Army Air Corps base in Tuskegee, Alabama. He later taught at the Lyon's Flying Service at Zahn's Airport (now closed) in Amityville, New York. In 1947 he started his Fixed Base Operation in Wilmington, North Carolina, where he also sponsored the second National Negro Aviation Convention.

He entered the field of Public Housing while in North Carolina as his aviation business suffered due to discrimination and financial sabotage. His career in Public Housing culminated with his appointment as Assistant Commissioner of Federal Code Enforcement for the New York City Housing and Development Administration.  But flying was his first love. He could not break the color barriers and get the recognition that other black pilots could not make serious inroads in the aviation industry.

This inspired him in 1967 to call together many pilots and friends to organize them into a group that would promote aviation in the Black community and provide a support and advocacy group for the youth and those attempting to get on the aviation career ladder. He founded the Stick and Rudder Club of New York, Inc. before founding and organizing Negro Airmen International, Inc (NAI).

Before his untimely death in 1969, Ed Gibbs had established an air taxi and maintenance service, West Indies Air Line and Air Service, at the Harry S. Truman Airport on the Island of St. Thomas in the Caribbean. This project was the culmination of many years of planning and the realization of a lifelong dream. He is survived by his wife of 29 years, Dicy V. Gibbs. His groundwork and planning provided the foundation upon which N.A.I. has grown from a small group of Tuskegee pilots and instructors to a national organization of thirty-one chapters and hundreds of members.

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