Honoring our “Trailblazers”


Boeing is quick to acknowledge women’s contributions to the company and aerospace history. We’re all familiar with the “Rosie the Riveters” who helped turn out hundreds of thousands of bombers and other aircraft during World War II. But did you know that women have also been employed by Boeing as engineers, test pilots, managers, and flight attendants? In fact, some of the very first Boeing employees a century ago were seamstresses who stitched pieces of fabric together to make airplane wings.

“Trailblazers: The Women of The Boeing Company,” published exclusively by Boeing Press, tells the story of women’s contributions throughout the company’s first century. Author Betsy Case put three years’ worth of research into the book, personally interviewing many of the pioneers, from original Rosies to contemporary test pilots.

“Writing the book was a labor of love,” said Case. “And it has been life-changing. Interest in the trailblazers—the book and the women—just keeps growing. People love hearing stories about the women who contributed so much to Boeing over the last 100 years.” Case has traveled the country during the past two years to participate in book signings and panel presentations with women profiled in the book, including Nelda Lee, the first woman engineer in flight test engineering for McDonnell Douglas and first woman to fly an F-15 Eagle fighter, and Suzanna Darcy-Hennemann, the first woman to join the Boeing engineering flight test group as a test pilot and first female rated as a captain on the 747-400.

“Trailblazers: The Women of The Boeing Company” is a beautiful 80-page hardcover book, lavishly illustrated with contemporary and archival photographs. It’s an informative and inspiring tribute to the women who were part of Boeing’s first 100 years—and those who will continue to lead in the company’s second century.

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