delta pilot

*In Delta Air Lines 92-year history, there has never been a single black female captain… until now.

After being an airline pilot for 20 years, Stephanie Johnson became Delta’s first black female captain in 2016.

“As long as I can remember, I have been fascinated with airplanes and would think, ‘What a great thing it would be to know how to fly,'” Johnson said in an interview with Delta News Hub.

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Stephanie Johnson

image via twitter

She’s the first in her family to graduate from college — studying at Kent State University, where she became a flight instructor for the aviation program. Graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Technology she landed her first job with Mesa Airlines as a commercial pilot, per She held a number of part-time jobs before landing her history-making position at Northwest Airlines in 1997, when she become their first black female pilot.

Prior to joining Delta last year, Johnson was director of the Cleveland Aviation Career Education Academy. She has also been a part of the Detroit Aviation Career Education Academy, giving high school students the opportunity to learn about aviation. Johnson says she wants to inspire women to enter the aviation field.

“I feel a great sense of responsibility to be a positive role model,” she said. “There are so few women in this profession and too many women who still don’t think of it as a career option. When I was hired by Northwest Airlines, there were 12 African-American women airline pilots in the country at the major airlines, and I knew all of their names. This is a great career – it’s worth the hard work.”