Sisters of the Skies, Inc. – Celebrating Women in Flight

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Theresa Claiborne

Sisters of the Skies, Inc. (SOS) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation focused on increasing the number of African American females working as professional pilots. It offers mentorship, professional development, and scholarships. 

SOS members are pilots, flying civilian or military aircraft. They hold airline transport, commercial, military and/or certified flight instructor licenses. A few now are retired.

Each year, SOS holds a gala. Essentially, the gala is a fundraiser. Funds raised are used to provide flight training scholarships for African American females aspiring to work as professional pilots.  Among the major contributors to the annual gala events are Delta Airlines, United Airlines, and Boeing. A major sponsor of this year’s gala is American Airlines.   

In previous years, the gala was held in Atlanta, San Francisco, and Houston. This year, the gala will be held in Charlotte, NC. SOS describes this year’s gala as “a celebration of dreams taking flight … a tribute to the remarkable journey of women in aviation and aerospace.”

The keynote speaker during the gala this Saturday is Lt. General Stayce Harris. Her journey as a woman in aviation is remarkable. Now retired, Lt. General Harris was the highest ranking African American female pilot in the United States military. She is the second African American female to fly planes for the Air Force, and among the first African American females to fly for United Airlines. Among the planes she has flown are the huge C-130 military aircraft and the enormous Boeing 747.

The celebration of dreams takes flight hours before Lt. General Harris delivers her keynote address. Invited guests will celebrate Theresa Claiborne’s retirement. 

Claiborne is the first African American female flying aircraft for the United States Air Force. She rose to the rank of Lt. Colonel prior to entering the private sector. 

Claiborne is among the first African American females flying for United Airlines. She currently works as a Captain for United Airlines flying the gigantic Boeing 787 on international commercial flights. She also is a founding member and president of SOS.

For more information on SOS, and its special events, workshops, mentorships, and scholarships, please visit

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Sisters of the Skies, Inc. – Celebrating Women in Flight

By Dr. Anne Sulton, Esq.
February 5, 2024