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Phoenix resident makes history as part of first Black female crew to fly FedEx aircraft

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Posted at 11:35 AM, Oct 15, 2021

June 11 marked FedEx history and one Valley resident was part of it.

Captain Tahirah Brown, who lives in Phoenix, is part of the first Black female crew to fly a FedEx aircraft.

Brown, along with First Officer Diana Lugemwa, made the recent flight from Memphis to Atlanta that was celebrated for marking the company's history.

"That flight was amazing. We had a great time. She did a great job but the topping for it was when we landed in Atlanta at 5 a.m. There were many people from the organization Sisters in the Skies, that were there to greet us. The love I felt was enormous. I just, I was really floating," Brown said.

Despite the latest momentous achievement, Brown is no stranger to historic accomplishments.

In 2002, Brown, who has been flying for 26 years, became the first Black female pilot at FedEx.

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Being aware that there weren't many Black female pilots in the industry, Brown became motivated by the idea of breaking barriers.

"It was a challenge. I was always the tomboy so traditional jobs, women jobs were never appealing to me anyway and the fact that I didn't know much about this and that there weren't many women in it, definitely yes it really piqued my interest in it," Brown said.

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Less than 1% of the world's current professional pilots are Black women.

As the FAA requires pilots to retire at age 65, the airline industry is also facing a pilot shortage.

Brown is hoping to help with that by encouraging others to consider the path towards aviation at a young age.

"Exposing people to that and making them aware from the grassroots effort. You gotta introduce and you gotta go into the schools. I'm presenting an option. I'm showing them something they hadn't seen before so it's critical to know that, 'hey if this person can do this, I can do this,'" Brown said.