Bonnie Tiburzi

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Bonnie Tiburzi
Bonnie Linda Tiburzi

(1948-08-31) August 31, 1948 (age 70)
OccupationPilot for American Airlines
Years active1973–1999
Awards"Women Making History" Award
from The National Women's History Museum

Bonnie Tiburzi (born August 31, 1948), is an American aviator. In 1973, at age 24, she became the first female pilot for American Airlines and the first female pilot for a major American commercial airline.[1]

At the same time she also became the first woman in the world to earn a Flight Engineer rating on a turbo-jet aircraft.

Early life[edit]

Bonnie Tiburzi Caputo was born Bonnie Linda Tiburzi.[2] She was born August 31, 1948 in Connecticut.[1] Her father was a pilot for SAS and later with TWA. After leaving the airline industry August Robert "Gus" Tiburzi owned and operated Tiburzi Airways - a flight school and charter company in Danbury, Connecticut.


Tiburzi began her aviation career flying as a flight instructor and charter pilot. In 1973, at age 24, she became the first female pilot for American Airlines and the first female pilot for a major American commercial airline.[1] She flew as a Captain on the Boeing 727, Boeing 757 and the Boeing 767. In 1986 Tiburzi wrote her autobiography, Takeoff: The Story of America's First Woman Pilot for a Major Airline.[3] She retired from AAL in 1999 after 26 years.

Additional professional activities[edit]

Trustee for the College of Aeronautics from 1990 - 2000

Created and produced three "Women of Accomplishment" Award Luncheons for the Wings Club, Inc. in New York City from 1981 to 1983. These events honored woman from various fields of endeavors. Recipients included award winning actress Polly Bergen, racer driver Janet Guthrie, TV anchor woman Jane Paulie, feminist and author Betty Friedan, Rabbi Sally Priesand, actress and spokesperson Maureen O'Hara Blair, Moya Lear of Lear Aircraft Company, Television Workshop's Faith Steward Gordon and opera singer Anna Moffo. Created the "Information Bank" - a networking system for the International Society Of Women Airline Pilots to help further the career of future female pilots. Guest speaker at many schools, colleges, and private clubs including the Federal Aviation Association, the Ninety Nines, the Smithsonian Air&Space Museum and the Wings Club. Trustee and Tennis Chairperson for the Millbrook Golf and Tennis Club from 1999 - 2001. Board Member of a New York Co-op Building in the 1990s


1984 - Autobiography, "Takeoff" published by Crown Publishing Company

1984 - Researched and co-authored a magazine article with Dr. Jonathan Scher about pregnancy and flying

published in Mothers Today Magazine.

Wrote the Pilots Guide to a Perfect Plane Ride for Woman's Day Magazine

Featured on Working Woman Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Harper's Bazaar, Glamour, Reader's Digest, Gold Coast Pictorial, Good Housekeeping,

Women's Wear Daily, Vogue, Woman's Day and the Smithsonian Air&Space Magazine.

Appeared in books by Henry Holden, Captain Robert Buck, John M. Capozzi, Lisa Yount and Carole S. Briggs - list incomplete.

American Way Magazine 2001 and 2015

Awards and recognition[edit]

1974 - Tiburzi received the Amita Award honoring Italian-American Women of Achievement

1979 - Recognized as a "Super Sister" and placed on Super Sster Trading Cards. These trading cards were distributed to

school age children nationwide.

1980 - Received the "Amela Earhart Award" by the Northeast Chapter of Airport Managers

1982 - Featured in the Cutty Sark Salute to "Here's to Those Who Fly in the Face of Tradition" add campaign.

1984 - Recipient of the "Women of Accomplishment Award" by the Wings Club of New York City.

1985 - Recipient of the Zonta Club of New York's "Non-Stop Achievement Award"

1987 - Selected by Woman's Day Magazine as one of "50 Women Wo Have Changed Our Lives"

1998 - Recipient of the "Women Making History Award" from the National Museum of Women's history in Washington, D.C.

In 2018, the Independent Spirit Awards inaugurated the Bonnie Award, named after Tiburzi, which "recognizes a mid-career female director with a $50,000 unrestricted grant sponsored by American Airlines."[4] Chloé Zhao was the first to receive this award.[4]

Tiburzi's American Airlines pilot uniform is on display at the Smithsonian Air&Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

See also:


  1. ^ a b c Yount, Lisa (1995). ""Tiburzi, Bonnie" Women Aviators. New York: Facts On File, Inc". American Women's History Online. Facts On File, Inc. Retrieved February 4, 2015.
  2. ^ Halloran, David (February 2015). "The last word. June 1973: With flying colors". American Way (American Airlines Magazine). United States.
  3. ^ Commire, Anne; Klezmer, Deborah, eds. (2002). "Tiburzi, Bonnie (1948–)". Women in world history: a biographical encyclopedia. Waterford, Connecticut: Yorkin Publications. ISBN 9780787637361. (Subscription required (help)).
  4. ^ a b Independent, Film. "2018 Film Independent Spirit Awards Winners Announced".

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]