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Friday, March 15, 2024

Only Black Female Pilot From an HBCU Program Now Flying For a Commercial Airline

Gabrielle Harding

Nationwide — Gabrielle Harding, a graduate of Hampton University, is indeed the only Black female pilot from an HBCU program that is currently flying for a commercial airline. She recently reached a significant milestone as she led an all-female crew on a United Airlines flight, marking a remarkable moment in aviation during Women’s History Month.

Captain Harding earned her Bachelor’s degree in Flight Education, and is notably part of the esteemed “Hampton 6,” an elite group of Hampton graduates who are now captains at United, where she is the only woman among them. She is also one of only two Black women Line Check Pilots at United Airlines, and the first and only for the Boeing fleet.

Earlier this month, Harding led a United Airlines flight that made history with an all-female crew on flight 1215 from Newark, New Jersey to Sarasota, Florida, and back.

Joining Harding on this historic flight is First Officer Julia Ewalefo, embarking on her first flight with United Airlines. Formerly a flight attendant with Frontier Airlines, Ewalefo transitioned to the flight deck, honing her skills with Endeavor before joining United.

Beyond the cockpit, the entire flight is supported by an all-women team, including flight attendants, customer service representatives, and ramp services personnel.

United Airlines recognized the significance of this moment and organized a reception to honor the departing and returning flights. The event garnered support from the company’s women and Black employee business resource groups, highlighting the collective effort to promote diversity and inclusion in aviation.

Captain Harding, with over three decades of flying experience, emphasizes the importance of inspiring future generations.

“It’s important to highlight these occasions to help inspire the next generation of women aviators,” she told ROI-NJ. “I hope any young girl seeing this story believes they can achieve their dreams if they put their mind to it.”