Texas Honors Aviation Pioneer For Lifetime Achievement

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Emma Carter Browning began her flying career in 1929 with a $1 plane ride in Abilene, and last week, at age 92, the Texas Department of Transportation gave her its lifetime achievement award. Browning, a pioneer in Austin aviation, worked with her late husband, barnstormer Robert Browning Jr., to start an FBO at University Airport in 1939, which stayed in business for 48 years. Thousands of pilots learned to fly at Browning Aerial Services, including many World War II fliers. The FBO moved to Austin's Robert Mueller Airport in 1946, and provided service for commercial airliners, sold fuel and aircraft, and ran charter flights. The family business was sold to Signature in 1987. "I sort of have to pinch myself just to be sure that indeed it is me receiving this award," Browning said, the Austin American-Statesman reported. Browning lobbied against the closing of Robert Mueller Airport --"The greatest-known aviation massacre event occurred right here in Texas," she recalled in her acceptance speech -- and now works as an advocate for creating an aviation museum for Central Texas.