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First all-black female crew makes aviation history aboard Delta Air Lines flight

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Capt. Stephanie Johnson, Delta’s first African-American female captain (left), and First Officer Dawn Cook manned Delta's first all-black female cockpit on a flight from Detroit to Las Vegas. (Delta Air Lines)

By Monique Jones

The Birmingham Times

Capt. Stephanie Johnson, Delta’s first African-American female captain (left), and First Officer Dawn Cook manned Delta's first all-black female cockpit on a flight from Detroit to Las Vegas. (Delta Airlines)
Capt. Stephanie Johnson, Delta’s first African-American female captain (left), and First Officer Dawn Cook manned Delta’s first all-black female cockpit on a flight from Detroit to Las Vegas. (Delta Airlines)

A Delta Air Lines flight made history Feb. 26, when two African-American pilots flew from Detroit to Las Vegas. The flight was manned by Capt. Stephanie Johnson, Delta’s first African-American female captain, and First Officer Dawn Cook.

Cook reached out to Johnson in the hopes of being a part of the historic flight after learning that she would be flying from Detroit. After touching down in Las Vegas, Cook posted a picture on Facebook to commemorate the flight.

Johnson told Delta’s News Hub in a Feb. 9 interview that she always wanted to know how to fly. When her high school physics teacher mentioned he had an airplane, she asked for a ride.

“I will never forget looking out at the horizon and Lake Erie over one wing and the city of Cleveland over the other,” she said. “My interest was fueled.”

Johnson, who also became the first African-American female pilot for Northwest Airlines in 1997, said she feels “a great sense of responsibility to be a positive role model.”

“There are so few women in this profession and too many women who still don’t think of it as a career option,” she said. “When I was hired by Northwest Airlines, there were 12 African-American women airline pilots in the country at major airlines, and I knew all of their names. Today is very different, and though there are still people to inform, I am so thankful that the word is out. This is a great career—it’s worth the hard work.”

Delta Air Lines contributed to this post.