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Captain Suzanna Darcy-Hennemann

Tom Allensworth
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Captain Darcy-Hennemann was the key note speaker for our San Diego FANCON. From Boeing's press release regarding Captain Darcy-Henneman:


Senior Test Pilot

Flight Test

Boeing Commercial Airplane Group

“I can't remember a time when I didn't want to fly...” Suzanna Darcy-Hennemann


Captain Suzanna Darcy-Hennemann is Boeing's 777 Assistant Chief Pilot and Experimental Pilot. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautics and Astronuautics Engineering at the University of Washington.

Captain Darcy-Hennemann began her aerospace career in 1974 when she joined the Boeing Company's engineering department. In 1982, Suzanna cross trained as an instructor in flight crew training. After many years in the engineering department, she became the first woman hired as a production test pilot at Boeing in 1985. She also was the first woman pilot in the world to become rated as a captain on the Boeing 737, 757, 767, and 747-400 in 1989 and the 777 in 1995.

Darcy-Henneman, an 18-year flight-test veteran and one of four women airplane test pilots at The Boeing Company (NYSE: BA), is no stranger to challenges concerning typified gender roles.


When I first started out in the aviation field, there were no women currently flying in the military or for commercial airlines,” Darcy said. “There were no footprints in the snow. My strategy was to eliminate any reasons why someone wouldn't hire me as a pilot, like inadequate training or experience. In the end, I had several jobs at Boeing and was the first woman to perform each one.

In 1996, the University of Washington, Engineering Program, named Suzanna as an Outstanding Alumna and again in 1999, named Outstanding Alumna - Aeronautics/Astronautics Engineering Department.


Darcy-Henneman has been a guest speaker at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (NASM), Washington, D. C.- GE Lecture Series, as well as the Seattle International Rotary Club, and NASA Goddard for the Engineering Colloquium. She has also been guest speaker at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) where she gave a humorous speech “Test Pilots Don't Wear Pearls”.


Between 1996 and 1998 Darcy-Hennemann was a member of Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) Approach and Landing Accident Reduction (ALAR) Operations Team.

In 1998 she was promoted to Boeing's 777 experimental test pilot position. Then, in 2003, Darcy-Henneman became the project pilot for 777-300ER GE90 115B engine testing.

Darcy-Hennemann became the 777-200LR project pilot for Boeing Commercial Airplanes in 2004. She participated in the 200LR engineering-design meetings. She watched the first model, that 001 airplane, progress through factory assembly.


This University of Washington engineering graduate continues to lead the way as the first woman to join the elite Boeing Engineering Flight Test group, which is responsible for designing and testing new airplanes and new innovations or capabilities before they are added to Boeing commercial airplanes. As an experimental test pilot on the Boeing 777, Darcy-Henneman is an integral member of the airplane program, contributing to the design, testing and certification of the 777, new derivatives and added features or capabilities.

When I'm on a test flight, I take a moment and think about how lucky I am to be in the captain's chair on the flight deck aboard the world's best airplanes,” Darcy-Henneman said. “My ‘office’ really does have the best view of the world.

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From the album:

San Diego 2005

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