Men of Distinction – Ahmet Ali Celikten (1883 – 1969)

Credited as history’s first black pilot, having earned his wings for the Ottoman Empire during WWI. Born in Turkey in 1883, he rose to the rank of captain and served in the Ottoman Air Force until the end of the war. He is considered the first black pilot (Arab African origin), having earned his wings in 1914-1915; as such, he narrowly edged the first African American pilot, Eugene Bullard, by a slim margin. Both were among the few blacks who saw air service in the war.

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2 comments

    • wyco

      So much untapped history. So many names have been relegated to footnotes. Stay tuned weekly for more profiles of worthy individuals.

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