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HomeTravel & TourismTrailblazing pilot Captain Theresa Claiborne makes her final flight |2024

Trailblazing pilot Captain Theresa Claiborne makes her final flight |2024

Last Updated on May 24, 2024 by Silvy

Trailblazing pilot Captain Theresa Claiborne makes her final flight

Captain Theresa Claiborne, the first Black woman to fly in the US Air Force, is retiring from her commercial flying career at United Airlines.

Claiborne has been flying for over 43 years, both in the military and for commercial airlines. She will land her final flight, a United Airlines 787 Dreamliner, at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey.

Early life and Air Force career

Claiborne never imagined becoming a pilot as a child. However, after joining the Air Force ROTC in college, she flew in a T-37 jet trainer and knew this was her calling. Despite initial challenges, she persevered and became a pilot in the US Air Force in 1981. During her service, she became the first Black woman to serve as a command pilot and instructor for a KC-135 refueling jet.

Transition to commercial aviation and United Airlines

Claiborne joined United Airlines in 1990. Though she faced challenges due to her height, she went on to become a captain. She emphasizes that a pilot is a pilot, regardless of the type of aircraft.

Looking back and giving back

Claiborne is proud of her accomplishments and her role in inspiring future generations, particularly young Black women. She acknowledges the financial barriers to becoming a pilot and is committed to increasing diversity in the field through her work with Sisters of the Skies.

Retirement and future plans

Claiborne is looking forward to retirement but admits it will be bittersweet. She plans to write books, mentor young people, and possibly fulfill a dream of flying a World War II aircraft.

Claiborne’s story is one of perseverance and breaking barriers. She is a role model for aspiring pilots and her legacy will continue to inspire future generations.

Source: https://edition.cnn.com/travel/theresa-claiborne-first-black-woman-air-force-pilot-retirement/index.html

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