Beverly Lynn Burns

Beverly Lynn Burns

Infobox Person
name =Beverly Lynn Burns

image_size =350px
caption = Capt. Burns on flight deck of DC-10 c.1993
birth_date =August 15,1949
birth_place =Baltimore, Maryland, USA
known_for = First woman in the world to captain the Boeing 747 jumbo jet.
occupation = Retired Continental Airlines captain
spouse = Captain Robert Allen Burns, Flight Instructor of Year, 1972
parents = Milton & Marilyn Grodnitzky

Captain Beverly Lynn Burns made history as the "first" woman in the world to captain the Boeing 747 jumbo jet. On the afternoon of July 18, 1984, Beverly made her maiden voyage as captain of the airliner when she commanded People Express trans-continental aircraft 604 from Newark International Airport to Los Angeles International Airport.

By the time she retired, in February 2008 and with over twenty-five thousand hours of flight time, Beverly looked back on an illustrious twenty-seven-and-a-half years as captain with the airlines and amassed an impressive list of qualifications. While with People Express she captained the Boeing 737, Boeing 727 and Boeing 747. Between the time the company merged with Continental Airlines in 1987 and the onset of the 2000 millennium, she added the DC-9, DC-10, Boeing 757 and Boeing 767 to the list of jetliners she had captained. Then, in May 2001, Beverly became captain on the most technologically sophisticated airliner of its time, the Boeing 777.

In addition to her qualifications on the flight deck, Beverly had acquired an in-depth understanding of the airlines as a business. From 1971-1978 she worked as stewardess for American Airlines while attending flight school. In 1978 she held positions as a flight instructor and charter pilot for Hinson Airways. The following year she flew as captain for Allegheny Commuter until 1981 when she went to work for People Express.

While with People Express, Beverly's skills increased and diversified. She worked in reservations, scheduling, as a gate agent, baggage handler and avionics trainer. Because of the company's unusual "staff" requirement for its pilots, Beverly became the "first" woman to ever work as a certified aircraft dispatcher while performing duties as a line captain.

For her achievements, Captain Burns received numerous awards and commendations. On January 31, 1985, she received the Amelia Earhart Award - presented by New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean and the CEO of People Express, Donald Burr - for her historical flight as captain of the Boeing 747 on July 18, 1984. Prior to that award, on August 14, 1984, she received an Award of Recognition from Baltimore Mayor, William Donald Schaefer, which cited her as one of Baltimore's best. On August 16th, she received a letter of congratulation from New Jersey Senator, C. Louis Bassano, who prepared a resolution in her honor. On August 21st, U.S. Senator from New Jersey, Frank R. Lautenberg, credited her with opening "doors for millions of American women" and read her deeds into the Congressional Record. On October 17th, Maryland Governor, Harry Hughes, sent a letter of congratulation and named her an "ambassador of goodwill" for the state. On November 16th, she received a letter of congratulation from President Ronald Wilson Reagan and was invited to the 50th. American President Inaugunal.

More recent commendations included a 2001 citation from US Senator from Maryland, Barbara A. Mikulski and a letter of congratulation, dated August 7, 2001, from President George W. Bush. On February 6, 2002 a proclamation by Baltimore Mayor, Martin O'Malley, designated the date as Beverly Burns Day in Baltimore. In 2003, she received a Certificate of Appreciation from USAF General John W. Handy for outstanding support for Operation Iraqi Freedom while serving as a member of the Civil Reserve Air Fleet.


* “Marriott Corp Honors Amelia & 747 Boss,” General Aviation News, Vol 36, No 9, Mar 4, 1985.
* Senator C. Louis Bassano, New Jersey Senate Resolution, Adopted July 30, 1984.
* Maryland State Governor, Harry Hughes, Letter of Congratulation, Oct 17, 1984.
* President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, Letter of Congratulation, Nov 16, 1984.
* Reitman, Valerie, “Elegant Opening for Elegant Airport Hotel,” Daily Journal, Feb 1, 1985.
* The Airline Executive, March 1985.
* “Woman 747 Captain Receives Earhart Award,” The Jewish Times, January 25, 1985.
* FAA Temp Airman Certificate, Form 8060-4(8-79), Issued 7-1-84 by Examiner Harty.
* Bullard, Chuck, “Pioneer of Our Times,” ALPA: Continental MEC Report, Fall 2002.
* “Woman Shatters Airline Barrier,” Placard on wall of Baltimore-Washington Int’l Airport.
* "Love is in The air," Baltimore Magazine.Net February 2002.

External links

* [ Explore Baltimore County: Retired pilot shattered glass ceiling]
* [ The Ninety-Nines: Women in Aviation]
* [ Women in Aviation: Captain]
* [ Where Girls Come First] at
* [ EWR Turns 80: A History of Newark Liberty Airport]
* [ AOPA Pilot] March 2008

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