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Neal V. Loving Collection

Identifier: MS-282

Scope and Content

Neal Loving's life has come to symbolize the true human spirit for he arose out of disastrous life events to become recognized as one of the "African American Pioneers in Aviation."

SERIES 1. Correspondence. This series contains three boxes of correspondence related to Neal V. Loving's professional career, aircraft, and personal relationships. They are divided chronologically by year or decade and alphabetized by sender's last name within each folder. Any unidentifiable correspondence has been placed in the back of the folder for the respective year. Correspondence relating to his hospital stay in 1944 can be located in Series 8, Photo Album/Scrapbooks. Correspondence to Neal Loving's family following his death can be located in Series 11, Personal/Awards.

SERIES 2. College Career- Wayne State University. Neal Loving graduated from Wayne State University in 1961 at the age of 45. This series contains four files that hold several college project reports, including his W-2 Roadable Aircraft Project. Also included in this series is his Wayne State University admissions information and his Bachelor of Science diploma.

SERIES 3. Flight Logs and Flight Certificates. This series contains nine files that are divided along the lines of individual flight log dates that span his entire flying career. The flight log dates begin in 1938 and end in 1994. Included in his flight logs are details of every flight he piloted. Several flights have interesting notations such as those taken after his medical recovery and one entry even describes a near miss with a Navy jet aircraft. Also included in this series are his pilot certificates, FAA medical certificates, Temporary Ground Instructor Certificate, and a photo of one of the aircraft he flew, a BT-13.

SERIES 4. Civil Service Career- United States Air Force. The largest series in the collection which consists of 19 files. This series covers Neal Loving's civil service career with the United States Air Force from 1961 to his retirement in 1982. Loving kept detailed records of his work for the Air Force as an engineer with the Flight Dynamics Laboratory. Loving's specialty was Clean Air Turbulence and its aeronautical effects. Some notable features of this series include a Who's Who information booklet of Air Force Flight Dynamics Laboratory personnel, research conference information attended by Loving, and Loving's government reports and publications that featured his research. Loving also kept detailed travel records (TDY) from 1962 to 1981. The TDY records are divided by the years in which Loving maintained them. Also included in this series are several official United States Air Force photos that feature Loving. Loving's passport photo is also included in the series.

SERIES 5. Aircraft- Personal/Wayne Aircraft Company/ Wayne School of Aeronautics Aircraft. This series contains three files and one oversized file of aircraft blueprints. This series contains information Loving documented and saved relating to his personal aircraft that he built, the WR-1, "Loving's Love" (N351C) and the WR-3 (N553A). The information includes flight information, various inquiries and design information relating to the WR-3. Also included in this series are blueprints from Loving' s Wayne School of Aeronautics. The blueprints are mainly of the WR-1, but also include other concepts, such as the "Loving's Love III," that Loving had drawn blueprints for. The series also contains a three-view drawing of a Wayne Glider as well as a specification chart and brochure produced by the Wayne Aircraft Company to advertise its new product.

SERIES 6. Loving's Love: A Black American's Experience in Aviation. This series contains five files that consist of the original draft of Neal Loving's book, Loving's Love: A Black American's Experience in Aviation, published in 1994, correspondence with his publisher, the Smithsonian Institution Press, and photographs that were submitted by Loving for publication with the book. A sixth file contains reviews of the book and information concerning appearances Neal Loving made to promote the book.

SERIES 7. Photographs. This large series contains 11 files. It is divided chronologically by his career and then by aircraft type. Included in this series are some excellent early photographs of Loving' s Wayne Aircraft Company and his World War II Civil Air Patrol unit. Also included in this series are a large number of photographs featuring his own aircraft, the WR-1, WR-2, and WR-3. There are also photographs from consumers that built their own aircraft using Loving's plans. A photo album from the Blacks in Aviation Convention, 1995, which features prominent African American aviators is included in this series.

SERIES 8: Photo Album/Scrapbooks. This oversized file contains three files. The first file contains several pages from one of Neal Loving's photo albums. The pages include photographs of the Aero Mechanics School, the Wayne Aircraft Company, and his Civil Air Patrol unit. The "Brown Scrapbook" is a record of Neal Loving's recovery after his 1944 aircraft accident. Included in this scrapbook are correspondence, cards, and photographs. The "Green Scrapbook" is a record of Loving's life in the 1950s. Included in this scrapbook are clippings from magazine articles, such as Ebony, as well as photographs and newspaper clippings.

SERIES 9. Clippings. This series contains 10 files that feature both newspaper and magazine clippings directly related to Neal Loving, his friends and family, and other aviation topics. The clippings are divided by those that are related to his career, aircraft, personal awards, and his personal accomplishments.

SERIES 10. Films/Videos/Audio Tape. This series contains seven files which consist of three amateur films, three videos, and one audio tape. The films, from the 1950s and 1960s, are those of both his, and other midget aircraft. The three videos include his WR-3 in flight in 1984, an interview by Dayton's WHIO television, a 1995 television talk show featuring Loving's Love, and a National Management Association video that featured Neal Loving in 1995. The audio tape features an interview of Neal Loving by Yvonne Duffy.

SERIES 11. Personal/Awards. This series contains twelve files. Within these files are the numerous awards that were bestowed upon Neal Loving throughout his life. This series includes those awards received during his professional career, those that are related to his aircraft, his personal and family accomplishments, and handicapped related awards. Also included in this series are documents from special functions Loving attended. This series also contains his last resume which documents his career, papers, awards, and honors. Another file in this series contains Neal Loving's obituary, eulogies presented at his funeral, letters of condolence sent to his family, and published tributes remembering Neal Loving's life.

SERIES 12. Lectures. This series contains seven files. This series primarily consists of lecture outlines used by Neal Loving at his many speaking engagements. This series includes outlines used in presentations at aviation clubs, civic organizations, museums, and schools. The series also contains a short biography detailing Neal Loving's life and accomplishments.

SERIES 13. Professional Affiliations. This series contains 18 files. Within this series is documentation of the various professional organizations to which Neal Loving belonged. Some of the files contain correspondence, membership rosters, and information regarding club events.

SERIES 14. Miscellaneous Aviation-Related Material. This series contains six files. Two files contain aeronautical journals, two other files contain documents regarding fellow aviators, and the last two files contain aviation-related project papers.


  • 1930-1998


Restrictions on Access

There are no restrictions on accessing material in this collection, however, due to preservation concerns, original audio and video materials cannot be played in the reading room. Patrons may have access to digitized reference copies. Items without existing reference copies can be digitized at the patron’s request for the cost of creating a digital copy. Please contact us at least two (2) weeks in advance if you would like to request an audio or video reference copy.

Restrictions on Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Biography of Neal V. Loving

Neal V. Loving was born in Detroit, Michigan, on February 4, 1916. His passion for aviation began at the early age of ten and never subsided. Neal Loving's life has come to symbolize the true human spirit for he arose out of disastrous life events to become recognized as one of the "African American Pioneers in Aviation."

Loving's interest in aviation started as a young boy and was fueled even farther by the success of Charles A. Lindbergh. Lindbergh's influence in Loving's life as apparent as Loving makes similarities in both their lives in his book, Loving's Love: A Black American's Experience in Aviation. Despite the hardships of the Depression and racism, Loving's early interest in aviation never subsided and hints of his future career were brought forward with his successful completion of training at Cass Technical High School, Detroit, Michigan, in 1934. This training included an aircraft mechanics class which helped set into motion Loving's professional career.

By 1941, Loving was the co-owner of the Wayne Aircraft Company, a glider manufacturing firm located in Detroit, Michigan. Shortly after the United States entered World War II, Loving helped form an all-black Civil Air Patrol Squadron (CAP) in Detroit. The purpose of CAP was to provide pre-military training, sea-air rescues, and coastal submarine hunting. Loving's group trained in preflight inspections, glider assembly (of Loving's design), and parachute training. It was during one of these CAP training missions that Neal Loving's life changed forever. On Sunday, July 30, 1944, Loving, flying a Wayne S-1 glider, crashed. The resulting accident eventually cost Neal Loving both his legs. To add to Loving's despair, during his lengthy hospital stay, his fiancee broke off their engagement and his mother passed away. However, out of these lows, Neal Loving arose to new challenges and established himself as one of the leading African American influences in aviation. Loving first fought through the racism in post-war America to establish and become co-owner of the Wayne School of Aeronautics from March 1946 to October 1956. It was during this time that Loving designed and built a midget racer, the WR-1, or better known as "Loving's Love," This plane became internationally recognized as an outstanding plane in its category and was eventually donated to the Experimental Aircraft Association Museum in 1964.

With new desire to marry and in an effort to provide financial security, Loving entered Wayne State University as an engineering student. In 1961, at the age of 45, Loving graduated as the oldest full-time engineering student in the university's history at that time. During this time, Loving designed another plane, a car-towable plane, the WR-2. However, due to certain design characteristics, Loving scrapped this plane and concentrated on his next project, the successful roadable aircraft, the WR-3.

Loving's new career path took him to the Flight Dynamics Laboratory, Wright Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB), Dayton, Ohio. Loving's first responsibility from August 1961 to February 1966, was to work as the Project Engineer on the High Altitude Clear Air Turbulence (HICAT) project. This program helped Loving to become established internationally in HICAT research. As his career as an aerospace engineer moved forward, Loving then worked on and researched the structural aspects of aircraft. Loving retired from his civil service career with the United States Air Force on January 9, 1982. During his civil service career, Loving received and earned numerous awards and commendations for his outstanding ability and dedication.

During retirement, Loving continued to follow his passion for flying and maintained an active flying schedule until October 17, 1992, when the FAA medical Center revoked his pilot's medical certificate. However, Loving maintained an active stance in the aviation field and continued to receive recognition for his remarkable life. Loving also embarked on a speaking career. Loving lectured about his life and aviation at schools, civic organizations, museums, and aviation clubs. Neal Loving was the author of Loving's Love: A Black American's Experience in Aviation, the first book published in the African American Pioneers in Aviation group in the Smithsonian History of Aviation Series.

Neal Loving passed away on December 19, 1998 at the age of 82.


9.0 linear feet

2207 Megabytes

Language of Materials



Neal Loving, recognized as one of the "African American Pioneers in Aviation", was a renowned airplane designer and an aerospace engineer at the Flight Dynamics Laboratory, Wright Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB), Dayton, Ohio. The collection contains papers, photographs, and blueprints of Loving's designs, including his WR-1 midget racer named "Loving's Love".

Statement of Arrangement

The collection is arranged into fourteen series.

  1. SERIES 1: Correspondence, circa 1930-1997
  2. SERIES 2: College Career- Wayne State University, 1960-1961
  3. SERIES 3: Flight Logs and Flight Certificates, 1938-1994
  4. SERIES 4: Civil Service Career- United States Air Force, 1962-1981
  5. SERIES 5: Aircraft- Personal/Wayne Aircraft Company/Wayne School of Aeronautics Aircraft, circa 1960
  6. SERIES 6: Loving’s Love: A Black American’s Experience in Aviation, 1993-1995
  7. SERIES 7: Photographs, 1942-1995, undated
  8. SERIES 8: Photo Album/Scrapbooks, 1935-1950s
  9. SERIES 9: Clippings, circa 1950-1995
  10. SERIES 10: Films/Videos/Audio Tape, 1953-1998
  11. SERIES 11: Personal/Awards, 1968-1998, undated
  12. SERIES 12: Lectures, 1974-1994
  13. SERIES 13: Professional Affiliations, circa 1990-1998
  14. SERIES 14: Miscellaneous Aviation-Related Material, circa 1930-1997

Acquisition Information

The papers of Neal V. Loving were accessioned into the Wright State University Special Collections and Archives in May, 1997. They were donated by Mr. Neal Loving.

Existence and Location of Copies

Blueprints of the WR-1 are digitized as PDFs in the E-Archives ms282_e0002 (scanned as is) and ms282_e0003 (digitally cleaned for easier viewing). Two films in the collection of Loving’s Love (Box 12, films 1 and 3) are also digitized (ms282_e0001).

Guide to the Neal V. Loving Collection (MS-282)
Finding aid prepared by James C. Johnson, 1998
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Revision Statements

  • October, 1999: Additions processed by Arlene Booher.

Repository Details

Part of the Wright State University Libraries, Special Collections and Archives Repository

Special Collections and Archives
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton OH 45435-0001 USA