Tonika is the daughter of my former P.E. teacher. She was just a little tyke when I met her. We graduated from the same high school. I was very proud to see what she's become.
She was the first black female to graduate from Central Missouri State University with a B.S. degree in Aviation Technology. She has written a children's book about her job. Below is the biography that can be found on her site for the book http://www.nikkitheairlinepilot.com
I am a native of Springfield, Illinois. I became interested in aviation at a young age. My first flying lesson was during my senior year as a student at Southeast High School. Through a youth aviation program, I completed my first solo flight. Each summer while in college, I worked various internships with airlines and the Illinois Department of Transportation. The internships allowed me to promote aviation education.
In 1994, I became the first black female to graduate from Central Missouri State University with a B.S. degree in Aviation Technology. After graduation, I went to work for the Houston Airport Management System while working as a flight instructor for a small airport. In 2000, after earning numerous flight hours, I was hired by CC Air, Inc. The US Airways Express subsidiary gave me an opportunity to fly a19 passenger aircraft throughout the southeastern United States. Shortly after, I participated in the company's jet training program. Two years later, I became the first black female jet captain to work for the company and began flying 86 passenger jets throughout the United States. Advancement to Allegiant Airlines allowed me to fly a larger aircraft, a McDonnell Douglas (MD80), throughout the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean.
In my spare time, I volunteer in many communities, promoting aviation education and participating in reading programs worldwide. "Nikki The Airline Pilot” was created after I became involved in a school’s “I Can Read Program.” The main objective of the book is to expose as many children as I can to aviation while emphasizing the importance of reading.
This one of a kind book is written for first and second graders. Although there is at least one non-fiction book in most school libraries that speak of Bessie Coleman, Amelia Earhart or the Tuskegee Airmen, this book gives the reader a glimpse of the main character (author) working on the job. To date, there are no other aviation books that have been written by a black female pilot discussing the day to day operations of a flight from a pilot’s perspective. As the book is distributed, the goal is to empower young people (especially girls) to seek people of character to identify with as they grow up. Hopefully, books such as “Nikki The Airline Pilot” will aid in developing positive, productive people.