The Story of Osage Pilot Francis D. Bowhan

Although Native American Heritage Month has come to an end, it is still important to share the stories of Indigenous and First Nations peoples.

via Air and Space

Aviation was booming in Wichita, Kansas, in the early 1920s and Francis Bowhan was at the heart of the scene. Charlotte was his frequent flying companion. Bowhan marketed his Osage heritage and he was often known by (and would sign with) the stereotypical nickname, “Chief.” One of his many business ventures was “Chief’s Flying Circus,” a barnstorming enterprise operating from Kansas, south to the Rio Grande. He underwent trials to earn his pilot’s license on October 25, 1923, in a Laird Swallow. Carl H. Wolfley, district governor of the National Aeronautic Association (NAA), and Walter H. Beech, test pilot and manager for Swallow Aircraft Company at the time, served as witnesses. The NAA issued license number 6068 to Bowhan on December 13, 1923.

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