Emily Howell Warner, 1st female Cpt. of US airline

Emily Howell Warner 1939 —

Some people are born to fly. Emily Howell Warner knew she was one of them as soon as she took her first short flight as a teen in Colorado in 1956. Two years later, she raised her career aspirations from being a flight attendant to piloting and began taking flying lessons.

The lessons were costly so she took a job as a receptionist with the Clinton Aviation Company and often worked 14 hours a day including her flight time. She obtained her private pilot’s license within a year. From there, she achieved certification as a flight instructor and a commercial pilot with instrument and multi-engine ratings.

Undaunted by the fact that there were no women piloting planes for US airlines, she applied to Frontier Airlines, Continental, and United Airlines. There were no responses to her repeated applications. After logging more than 3,500 hours as a pilot and 7,000 as a flight instructor, she realized that men she had trained were being hired as pilots with far less experience. Through a friend she met the VP of Operations for Frontier Airlines and her career dreams were realized in 1973 when Frontier hired her for the position of co-pilot. Within 6 months she was promoted to first officer and in 1974, Emily became the 1st woman member of the Airline Pilots Association.

In 1986, while flying for the United Parcel Service, she commanded an all-female flight crew. She is an inspiration to all women who want to earn their wings.

“Can girls do that?”

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