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Northwest Airlines' First African-American Pilot

Woodson Fountain

Friday, April 27th, 2018 | Overture Center

The Event

Woodson (Woodie) Fountain shared his wisdom and experiences with members from many generations, 27 April at the Overture Center - Madison.


Starting his airline career just as the tumultuous decade of the '60s was coming to a close, Mr. Fountain became the first African American pilot hired by Northwest Airlines in June of 1969.


In 1960 as a Howard University ROTC cadet, Mr. Fountain received his first airplane ride, a C-47 orientation flight to Stewart Air Force Base in New York, under the command of Major Chuck Dryden, an original Tuskegee Airman.


Mr. Woodson's military service would take him from Edwards Air Force Base as a Flight Test Engineer to Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma before joining Northwest Airlines. Instructed on the Boeing 727, 757 and the Airbus 320, he was among the original cadre of U.S. pilots to train on the Airbus 320 in Toulouse, France.