Tomica Adams has just become one of four Black female captains currently flying the friendly skies for United Airlines. In all, the company has had six but two are currently retired.

“I am 1 of 4 Black Female Captains at United, out of around 14,000. I’m still letting that sink in,” Adams announced on her Instagram.

This wasn’t something Adams originally had planned.

“Everyone’s goal when they’re flying is to fly for an airline because they’re typically the biggest airplanes and you’re traveling the world. When I got here, I thought I accomplished my goal, especially because I’ve been a captain with other airlines.”

She also didn’t plan for what would happen next once she posted on Instagram that she was in training, and admits not fully understanding the gravity of her achievements and representation until now.

“I didn’t think it mattered,” said Adams. “Now I know, since my post, how people perceive me. It’s an honor to carry that legacy forward and to let little girls know that this is accomplishable. It’s possible as long as you have the mindset.”

Captain Adams was a First Officer for the airline but now as captain, she says the only difference is during an emergency, the captain makes the final decision.


Inspiring Future Black Pilots

Black pilots only make up just 3% of the aviation industry. That number drops to a little more than 1% for Black women.

When she’s not flying, Adams is working to help young people take off with their careers in aviation, as she’s currently the vice-chair for the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP).

“I have been a part of OBAP since 1996 when I was trying to fly. It’s been the organization that has helped me get to where I am, and it’s my goal to do what I can to give back,” Adams added.


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