1st all black female flight crew makes aviation history

Atlantic Southeast Airlines, an Atlanta-based Delta connection regional carrier, recently made aviation history when one of its flights from Atlanta to Nashville was conducted by a crew comprised entirely of African-American women. This landmark event — which happened by chance — comes on the tail end of Black History Month.

Captain Rachelle Jones, first officer Stephanie Grant, and flight attendants Diana Galloway and Robin Rogers worked the flight.

“We did not realize the historical ramifications of it,” Rogers says.

The original first officer became ill, and was replaced with Stephanie Grant. She and Rachelle Jones — one of only ten black, female pilots in the country — operated the cockpit, while flight attendants Diana Galloway and Robin Rogers ran the cabin.

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“Fate may have a little bit to do with it, but for everyone that will look at us as role models or look to aspire to be what we are today, they need to know that it was hard work and dedication to get here,” Grant says.

Captain Jones, who used to be a customer service agent for Delta, had never thought of becoming a pilot before a friend suggested it. She says it paid off, and she’s happy for what she’s accomplished.

“Young girls need to see that yes, they can be flight attendants, and yes, they can be pilots, and the sky is the limit.”