Cornelius Robinson Coffey
As an ode to the wonderful achievements of Cornelius Robinson Coffey and his role in early aviation, the Robinson Family Aerospace Mission sought to pay homage to Coffey by sending his name aboard the InSight Mars Lander.
Cornelius R. Coffey was the first African American to found a non-university aeronautical school, become a certified aircraft mechanic in the United States, and obtain both a pilot’s license and a mechanics license.
The Coffey School of Aeronautics, which was the first African American-owned and certified flight school, was the only non-university aviation program to be a part of the Civilian Pilot Training Program. The Coffey School helped in integrating African American pilots into America’s aviation industry, and afforded countless African Americans the opportunity to earn their pilot’s license as well as gain acceptance into the Army Air Forces.
Coffey, along with Willa Brown and Enoch P. Waters, formed the National Airmen’s Association of America with the goal to expose people of color to aviation as well as send African American aviators to the military in 1939.