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1951/1952 (age 66–67)
|Alma mater||Texas Christian University|
|Occupation||Pilot for American Airlines|
Beverley Bass (born 1951 or 1952) is an American former aircraft pilot and was the first female captain of an American Airlines aircraft.[a] She was hired in 1976 by American Airlines as their third female pilot. In October 1986, Bass became the first female captain at American Airlines and later that year (1986) became the captain of American Airlines’ first all-female crew.
This section relies largely or entirely on a single source. (January 2019)
Bass was born and raised in Fort Myers, Florida and graduated from high school in 1970. She studied Spanish and Interior Design at Texas Christian University, receiving a bachelor's degree in both subjects in May 1974. Bass cites her aunt, who would park her Volkswagen Beetle by the local airport's chain-link fence so Bass could watch planes takeoff and land, as her inspiration to start flying. Bass’ father, fearing losing Bass' interest in the family's quarter horses, refused flying lessons.
Bass started flying the summer after her first year at Texas Christian University, in 1971. She logged her hours at Fort Worth's Meacham airport, spending 6 hours there each afternoon-3-9PM. Bass' first professional experience came when a local mortician needed to fly a young woman's body to Arkansas.
Bass' career in commercial aviation began with difficulty, Bass says, "I was told there couldn’t be a female pilot flying executives around because what would the wives think". Bass began flying for American Airlines in 1976 at age 24, and was the first female captain for that airline in October 1986.
Diversion to Gander on September 11, 2001
Bass was piloting a Boeing 777 en route from Charles de Gaulle Airport to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport when the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, occurred. Due to the closure of American airspace Bass’s flight was ordered to land at Gander International Airport in Gander, Newfoundland, as part of the Canadian government's Operation Yellow Ribbon. Her experience in Gander during the days following the attacks was one of several people's stories featured in the Tony Award-winning Canadian musical Come from Away. While the Beverley Bass character in the musical is partly a composite character combining experiences of other pilots in Gander at the time, the number "Me and the Sky" is entirely drawn from the real Bass's life story. Bass has developed a close friendship with Jenn Colella, the actress who portrays her in the Broadway company of Come from Away, and frequently travels to see the show.
- Bonnie Tiburzi in 1973 was the first woman pilot on an American Airlines aircraft, but Bass was the first to reach the rank of captain.
- Maxon, Terry (September 10, 2011). "Tales of 9/11: Beverley Bass took a detour to Gander". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
- Williams, Cynthia A. (March 19, 2016). "Fort Myers native Beverley Bass made aviation history". The News-Press. Fort Myers, Florida. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
- Martin, Lisa (Summer 2017). "'Come From Away' Inspiration Beverley Bass Tells Her Story". TCU Magazine. Texas Christian University. Archived from the original on 2019-06-19.
- Bailey, Sue (June 10, 2017). "Meet Beverley Bass: Pilot inspired performance in 'Come From Away'". CTV News. The Canadian Press. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
- Paulson, Michael (April 16, 2017). "A Pioneering Pilot, A Broadway Show and a Life-Changing Bond". New York Times. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
- Bass, Beverley; Colella, Jenn; Hassan, Ali (May 22, 2017). The remarkable friendship between a Come From Away cast member and the real-life woman she portrays (Radio). CBC Radio. Retrieved April 1, 2018.