American Airlines Captain Dave Harris, Ret., to Be Honored for Blazing the Trail for All Black Airline Pilots

First Black Pilot will be Recognized at OBAP Annual Conference

Aug 13, 2008, 01:00 ET from American Airlines, Inc.

    FORT WORTH, Texas, Aug. 13 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- American Airlines
 will serve as the title sponsor of the Organization of Black Airline Pilots
 (OBAP) 32nd Annual Convention, where retired Captain Dave Harris will be
 honored for being the first African American to fly for a commercial
 airline. Harris, 73, retired from American Airlines in 1994 after more 30
 years of service.
     After rejections from several other major airlines at the time, Harris
 wanted to avoid any misunderstanding down the road. Following his interview
 with American, Harris recalls, "I felt compelled to tell [the interviewer]
 I was black." The chief pilot who conducted the interview responded, "This
 is American Airlines and we don't care if you're black, white or
 chartreuse, we only want to know, can you fly the plane?" Harris began
 training with American Airlines on Dec. 3, 1964, preparing to pilot the
 airline's DC-6 aircraft.
     American Airlines today has one of the most diverse flight crew rosters
 in the industry. American and its regional affiliate American Eagle
 Airlines together employ 163 African-American pilots, some of whom are also
 female pilots.
     "Captain Harris is a role model among African Americans who have since
 followed his footsteps to work in the commercial airline industry," said
 Captain Mark Hettermann, American Airlines Chief Pilot. "His 30 years of
 dedicated service should serve as an inspiration to all Americans --
 African American and otherwise."
     Several other current and former American Airlines employees also will
 receive special recognition for their outstanding career achievements in
 aviation, including Joan Dorsey, who became the first African-American
 flight attendant. Dorsey retired from American Airlines in 1999 after more
 than 36 years of service.
     About the Organization of Black Airline Pilots
     Founded in 1976, the Organization of Black Airline Pilots, Inc. is a
 nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing the number of African
 Americans and women employed in the aerospace industry. Headquartered in
 Silver Spring, Md., the mission of OBAP is to prepare young people to
 realize a successful future in the aerospace industry through educational
 opportunities, mentoring, and aerospace projects. For more information on
 OBAP, visit
     About American Airlines
     American Airlines is the world's largest airline. American, American
 Eagle and the AmericanConnection(R) airlines serve 250 cities in over 40
 countries with more than 4,000 daily flights. The combined network fleet
 numbers more than 1,000 aircraft. American's award-winning Web site,, provides users with easy access to check and book fares, plus
 personalized news, information and travel offers. American Airlines is a
 founding member of the oneworld(R) Alliance, which brings together some of
 the best and biggest names in the airline business, enabling them to offer
 their customers more services and benefits than any airline can provide on
 its own. Together, its members serve nearly 700 destinations in over 140
 countries and territories. American Airlines, Inc. and American Eagle
 Airlines, Inc. are subsidiaries of AMR Corporation. AmericanAirlines,
 American Eagle, the AmericanConnection(R) airlines,, We know why you
 fly and AAdvantage are registered trademarks of American Airlines, Inc.
 (NYSE:   AMR)
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SOURCE American Airlines, Inc.