Two African-American women pilots just made history on Delta Airlines

Black women pilots have been awe-inspiring pioneers since the dawn of American aviation. There’s the incredible Bessie Coleman, for exampleThe courageous Willa Brown. And joining their ranks are pilots Captain Stephanie Johnson and First Officer Dawn Cook, who soared to new heights on Delta Airlines Flight 555 this year.

The dynamic duo flew from Detroit to Las Vegas on February 26th. No big deal for two experienced aviators. But the trip was anything but routine.

Instead, it made them the first African-American female cockpit crew on a mainline Delta flight.

Yes, you read that right! Cook left her home base in Atlanta to facilitate the record-making flight, and snapped a selfie with Johnson after the plane touched down in Nevada.

Badass and beautiful.

The flight provided a perfect end to the “Delta’s Very Own Heroes” month, which celebrates the accomplishments of the company’s African-American employees.

And this isn’t Johnson’s first such feat. (As if this story wasn’t cool enough already.) In 1997, she was hired as Northwestern Airline’s first African-American woman pilot. Then a year ago she made history again by becoming Delta Airline’s first black female captain.


Johnson hopes that their example will inspire others to fly, especially other black women.

“I feel a great sense of responsibility to be a positive role model," she says. "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.

Though fortunately conditions have changed for the better, she’s eager to continue spreading the word.

"This is a great career – it’s worth the hard work."

Consider us inspired. Captain Johnson and Officer Cook, we salute you!