Emma Carter Browning

Texas Women’s Hall Of Fame - Aviation

Emma Carter Browning was a pilot, businesswoman and aviation pioneer. Browning grew up in Eastland, Texas and attended Abilene Business College. She paid $1 for her first ride with a barnstormer pilot in 1929 and was inspired to pursue a life in aviation. A year later, she met her future husband, Robert Browning, Jr., and together they earned a living in the burgeoning civil aviation industry while managing a fixed-base operator at Abilene Airport. During that time the Brownings befriended fellow aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart while her aircraft underwent repairs in Abilene. In 1939, Browning received her certification as a solo pilot and moved to Austin with her husband to found and operate Browning Aerial Services. Together they provided training through the Civilian Pilot Training Program created by President Roosevelt’s efforts to strengthen the U.S. Military. In 1942, Browning Aerial Services began training pilots for the U.S. Army Air Corps.

The Brownings helped form the Texas Flight Training Association, the Civil Aeronautics Authority and the Texas Aeronautics Commission, bringing together fixed-base operator owners from across the state and nation to better serve the civilian aviation industry. After her husband’s passing in 1973, Browning became president of Browning Aerial Services, operating the business and managing relations with local, state and federal regulators before selling the business to Signature Flight Services in 1987. She passed away in 2010, leaving behind enormous contributions to the aviation industry and the State of Texas.