Not All Aviation Firsts Belong to Pilots

Deborah Ale Flint photo courtesy of

Deborah Ale Flint
photo courtesy of

So often when we look at aviation history we make note of groundbreaking firsts made by pilots.  But what of those who stay on the ground?  Those individuals are just as vital to aviation, especially since they are the ones that keep us flying.  This month we celebrate for black history month a woman of the Bay Area who is a contemporary pioneer in the aviation industry.

Oakland International Airport is the second largest San Francisco Bay Area airport and fourth largest airport in California.  It is managed by the Port of Oakland which also covers the Oakland seaport and 20 miles of waterfront.  Established in 1927, the Port of Oakland is an independent department of the City of Oakland.  Over the years Oakland has been a prominent location in aviation history, including Amelia Earhart’s famed around the world flight which commenced out of OAK.  In 2010, the Port of Oakland added another mark in history when they promoted Deborah Ale Flint as Director of Aviation.  Not only did Ms. Flint become the first woman to hold this post in the airport’s eighty-three year history, she was also the first African American woman to hold the post of airport director in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Upon accepting her appointment, Flint celebrated, “I am excited and honored to be chosen as the Port’s Director of Aviation.  This action by the Board and Omar Benjamin represents another historical moment for Oakland International Airport.  Oakland has a rich history for pioneering and innovation, from the airport’s early days with Amelia Earhart to being the country’s first LEED Silver Certified airport passenger terminal.  I look forward to leading the airport team in providing a contemporary, convenient, and reliable choice for savvy passengers traveling to and from the Bay Area.” (Port of Oakland Announces Appointment of Deborah Ale Flint as Director of Aviation, 2010).  Way to go Deborah in following in the footsteps of Oakland’s pioneers in aviation!

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