Black Airline Pilots
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Black Airline Pilots

Woodson Fountain

The First Black Pilot to Work For Northwest Airlines


Woodson (Woodie) Fountain started his airline career just as the tumultuous decade of the '60s was coming to a close. He was the first African American pilot hired by Northwest in June of 1969. He believes a gift from his father, Cleveland Fountain, was the inspiration he needed to become interested by flying. The time was 1945, and his father, a First Sargeant in the United States Army gave him an Army Air Corps shoulder patch.

It would be fifteen years later that Woodie (As an Howard University ROTC cadet) would get 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. 

Woodson 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. 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.



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