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SW Aviator Feb/Mar 2001
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L.C. Amos, Jr.
A Tribute to a San Antonio Air Pioneer

By Larry Stewart

It was 1964. I was 16 years old and wanted to be a pilot more than anything. I bicycled the six miles to Stinson Airport on San Antonio’s Southside to roam the ramp and watch airplanes.

My first stop was at the north end of the field. I was promptly told by the operator of the flying school to get out unless I was there to do business! Working my way back south, I ended up at hangar number nine. The sign read Economy Aviation. I looked inside the hangar through a partly open door and noticed that a class was being conducted.

Not wanting another chewing out, I exited. A friendly voice called from inside to come in. The man said to have a seat and sit in on the ground school session. I did. I had not had much exposure to black people, and certainly not as teachers of anything. His all white class soaked up his every word. After the session the man shook my hand and introduced himself as Amos. I became a regular at Economy Aviation. I made a deal to wash airplanes and to do odd jobs for flight instruction. Amos wanted to meet my father before any of this could happen. I wondered what would happen when I told my parents that I wanted this black man to teach me to fly airplanes at the age of sixteen. My father had been an aircraft inspector in WWII. He wanted to meet this man Amos and have a look at his equipment. To the credit of my Arkansas raised parents in the racially tense 1960’s, the color of my flight instructor was never an issue. My father gave his seal of approval on the man and his equipment. I was a student pilot!

I had developed a bad habit of leaning into turns rather than sitting straight up in the seat. One day, before take-off, he told me he had a cure for students that leaned into the turns and that I would not like it so it better not happen again. That day while going through my training I leaned into a sixty-degree right turn. Amos kissed me on the cheek! I never leaned into another turn! A few days later he soloed me. I was not nervous. He had taught me well. In April of 1968, while a senior at Highlands High School, I became a licensed pilot.

Here is why I championed the renaming 97th Street at Stinson Airport in honor of L. C. Amos, Jr.: He had a dream of being a flight instructor. He overcame obstacles that I do not think he would want me to mention, and prepared himself and educated himself to be in a position to reach his dream. He was the first black flight instructor in San Antonio. His competition, students, and the aviation community respected him. Economy Aviation students have become airline, corporate, and military pilots. Mr. Amos is a role model that should be used by our community. He was a member of the United Sates Air Force from 1943 to 1953. He served in the famous all black Tuskegee Airmen and the 332nd Flight Squadron. He relocated to San Antonio and opened Economy Aviation.

I learned from Amos that black people could be as intelligent, kind, and friendly as anyone. This man Amos gave me self-confidence. I am a better man today than I might have been because of him. It is with love and respect that I recognize this remarkable individual. He was the first black flight instructor in San Antonio. Economy Aviation was the first solely black owned flying school in the United States. Some made a living complaining about white sins. Mr. L. C. Amos, Jr. had a dream. He prepared himself to reach that dream.

He got down to business and lived his dream. Now that’s a role model.
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The material in this publication is for advisory information only and should not be relied upon for navigation, maintenance or flight techniques. SW Regional Publications and the staff neither assume any responsibility for the accuracy of this publication's content nor any liability arising fom it
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