For Immediate Release
February 13, 2012
Contact Information

Denise Richards

(BPRW) Twenty-First Century Female Pilot Blazing Trails In And Out Of The Cockpit!

- "Nikki The Airline Pilot" "" A True-To-Life Story About Black History In the Making -

(BLACK PR WIRE) – February 13 – (Fort Lauderdale) Black History Month is here and Captain Tonika Johnson has not only cut her own path into the history books, but has created a means towards providing a positive mindset for youngsters to make their own way into the annals of history!

Captain Johnson became the first black female to graduate from Central Missouri State University with a B.S. degree in Aviation Technology in 1994. A native of Springfield, Illinois, she became interested in aviation an early age. Her first flying lesson was during her senior year as a student at Southeast High School. A youth aviation program provided the means by which she completed her first solo flight. While in college, each summer she participated in internships with various airlines and the Illinois Department of Transportation. She notes: "The internships allowed me to promote aviation education while the employers became sponsors."

Among her many firsts, Captain Johnson can include being US Airways Express' first black female jet captain. She has been at the helm of Corporate flights, flown 86-passenger jets throughout the United States and later advanced to the McDonnell-Douglas MD80 at Allegiant Airlines - adding Canada and the Caribbean to her routes. In her own words:

"A desire to see the world and make an impact by assisting where possible, inspired me to work as a jet captain in other countries like India and Africa. When I am not flying, I volunteer in many communities, promoting aviation, participating in reading programs worldwide, as well as, being commissioned to provide instruction in a classroom environment.

'Nikki The Airline Pilot,' a book for children ages three through eight years, was created after I became involved in a school's "I Can Read Program." It is a one-of-a-kind, written for first and second graders. The main objective of this appropriately easy-to-read book, is to expose as many children as possible to aviation, while emphasizing the importance of reading. Although there is at least one non-fiction book in most school libraries that speak either of Bessie Coleman, Amelia Earhart or the Tuskegee Airmen, this book gives the reader a glimpse of the main character (the author) working on the job. To date, there are no other aviation books that have been written by a black female pilot discussing the day to day operations of a flight from a pilot's perspective. As the book is distributed, the goal is to empower young people (especially girls) who, with the help of parents, guardians, instructors and others, look to people of character, honesty and integrity to identify with as they grow up. Hopefully, books such as Nikki The Airline Pilot" will aid in this way by developing a positive “I can do it too" attitude from an early age."

Librarian at Avondale Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois, Ms Ayanna Lewis, had this to say: "This book provides readers with a simple, yet accurate description of the pre-flight steps a pilot takes before lift-off with passengers." The second book of the series "Nikki The Airline Pilot" is scheduled for publication shortly.

Captain Johnson has been featured in the State Journal-Register of Illinois and was honored by the Bessie Coleman Foundation in 2010. The following excerpts from a letter to Ms Johnson by the Bessie Coleman Foundation (BCF), on the occasion of their 15th anniversary says it all:

"You have realized Bessie Coleman's dream that women of color participate fully in the opportunities in the sky. Therefore, you have been selected to be honored during the Fly-Sister-Fly Empowerment Breakfast the Marriott Downtown in Memphis, Tennessee. You and several other successful sisters-in-aviation/aeronautics will be recognized by BCF, the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP), the Black Flight Attendants of America (BFAOA) and many other excited attendees.

Writing history is what humans do with power. BCF respects that power and therefore we want to commend and preserve your contributions through the 'Fly-Sister-Fly 2010' DVD. You are truly a trailblazer both inside and outside of the cockpit. You made history when you became the first African -American female to graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Technology from Central Missouri State University. Then you made history again when you became the first African- American female jet captain at U.S Airways Express. You are one of the very few (if not) only African- American females since Bessie Coleman herself to obtain a pilot license outside the United States of America and then you took on the historic challenge of flying as a jet captain in Asia and Africa! BCF is most impressed with the fact that you have authored a series of children’s books, which teaches aviation and the values of honesty, integrity and perseverance. You are indeed the legacy of Queen Bess!"

For more information or to schedule an interview, appearance or signing event, please call Denise Richards. Tel: 954-513-9616, E-mail: or visit