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Goddard Space Flight Center Engineering Colloquium

Date: Monday, November 3, 1997

Flight Testing The Boeing Way

Speaker: Suzanna Darcy


A review of the initial certification of the 777, from its challenges to its unique aspects, expected results and surprises! All the pilots attached to the program agreed it was the adventure of a career. An update on certifying derivatives and a look at the future.

Also a look back at the highlights of 30+ years of commercial flight testing and the lessons learned that made the 777 such a success.


Captain Suzanna Darcy, the first woman hired by Boeing as a test pilot, was the lead pilot on the final Boeing 777 to enter flight testing. In addition to her 777 responsibilities, Darcy is a production test pilot on the 737, 757, 767, and 747-400. She was named to this position in 1985, becoming the first woman hired by the company as a test pilot. In 1989, she became the first woman rated as a captain on the 747-400 and achieved the same distinction in 1995 on the 777. Darcy also is cross-trained as an instructor pilot on the 737, 757, 767, 747-400, and 777. Prior to becoming a Boeing pilot, Darcy was a 757/767 ground-school instructor from 1981 to 1985. She joined The Boeing Company in 1974 and spent her initial 7 years in the engineering department. Born in Providence, Rhode Island, in August 1952, Darcy graduated from the University of Washington in 1981 with a bachelor of science degree in aeronautics and astronautics engineering.

In 1996, Darcy received the honor of Outstanding Alumni, University of Washington Engineering Program. She also was a 1996 awardee of a Women in Communications Award. In July 1994, Darcy became an honoree of the International Forest of Friendship in Atchison, Kansas. The forest consists of trees representing the 50 American states and 35 countries that are home to the members of the Ninety-Nines, the International organization of women pilots. Darcy's name was added to 700 other men and women honored for their contributions to aviation and aerospace. In addition to her membership in the Ninety-Nines, Darcy is a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.

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