October 25, 2019 San Diego CA. – John and Martha King, co-chairmen of King Schools, have been honored by being inducted into The Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP) Founders and Pioneers Hall of Fame, in recognition of their life-long dedication to making aviation learning accessible to all.
John and Martha started their aviation training careers by teaching private pilot and instrument rating accelerated ground school courses all over the country. They had a barnstormer’s schedule, flying their own airplane to destinations around the country to teach weekend ground schools and returning to San Diego to handle their business during the week. They estimate that they taught about 500 of these live courses to audiences of 20 to 400 people. In the late 1980’s they put their classes on video tape, selling them first directly to flight instructors and then to pilots, revolutionizing the aviation training industry. Since they started King Schools in 1974, over 500,000 individual pilots have taken their courses.
Founded in 1976, the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the encouragement and advancement of minorities in all aviation and aerospace careers. Vanessa Blacknall-Jamison, the Board Chairwoman of OBAP since 2016, said, “The obvious question concerning John and Martha’s selection is, ‘Why are we inducting this couple into the OBAP Founders and Pioneers Hall of Fame?’. The answer is that we are thrilled to recognize these legends of the aerospace industry because their teaching transcends race, color, religion, orientation, classification and identification.” Ms. Blacknall-Jamison continued, “As we walked with the Kings through our Hall of Fame, members constantly stopped us. They wanted to thank the Kings for helping them get through their tests, take a selfie, and say how much the Kings’ teaching meant to them. It was an amazing outpouring of affection that affirmed our decision to induct them into our Founders and Pioneers Hall of Fame.”
Martha King said, “This honor is so appreciated and is very humbling. An induction into any Hall of Fame was unimaginable when we started teaching people how to fly, and this is very special. An airplane doesn’t care about the race, color, gender or creed of the pilot. The plane only responds to the skill and knowledge of the pilot. It’s that simple. Our teaching is available to anyone who has a passion for aviation, and recognition by the OBAP is just awesome.”
John King added, “We want to help our customers learn to fly safely and competently, and be able to protect themselves, their passengers and the people they love. For the OBAP to recognize and honor our teaching as making aviation learning accessible to all was both a huge surprise and a great delight.”
The following people were also enshrined into the OBAP Hall of Fame Class of 2019:
- Major General John H. Bailey, a highly decorated military officer whose overseas assignments included one tour of duty in Germany 1962-1965 and two tours of duty in Vietnam, 1967-68 and 1971-72.
- Icema D. Gibbs, a founding member of JetBlue, leads Corporate Social Responsibility for JetBlue Airways and is responsible for global cause marketing and philanthropic initiatives.
- Colonel Charles Edward McGee is a retired African-American fighter pilot who was one of the Tuskegee Airmen and a career officer in the United States Air Force for 30 years who flew a total of 409 combat missions in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
- Lieutenant Colonel Marcella Ann Ng is the first African American woman pilot in the United States Armed Forces.
- Lieutenant Commander Brenda E. Robinson is the first black woman to earn her Wings of Gold as a naval aviator and one of the first women to make aircraft carrier landings, C-1A on USS America in January 1981.