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Trailblazing Pilot Lands Final Flight: Captain Claiborne Retires

United Airlines Captain Theresa Claiborne landed her final flight from Lisbon, Portugal, at Newark Liberty International Airport after 34 years with the company.


Claiborne was the first Black woman to fly with the U.S. Air Force in 1982 and the first Black woman to serve as a command pilot and instructor for the Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker. She joined United Airlines in 1990 as a first officer and was later promoted to captain.





Claiborne was inducted into the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals Hall of Fame in 2017.


As President of Sisters of the Skies, whose mission is to support and build a diverse generation of aviation professionals, Claiborne still makes an impact on the industry. The organisation supports aviation professionals by offering workshops, mentorships, and scholarships.

"To still impart that knowledge on young people – and particularly young black women – that they can do this," said Claiborne. As Theresa Claiborne bids farewell to the skies, she sets an example for a new generation of trailblazers inspired by her representation and commitment to excellence.


Claiborne’s story echoes Brookfield Aviation International’s commitment to fostering diversity in the pilot workforce and creating opportunities for women to spread their wings and find their place in the skies.

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