Edward Horne, UPS assistant chief pilot
by Frederick H. Lowe
Edward L. Horne, Jr., an assistant chief pilot for the United Parcel Service, one of the world’s largest freight carriers, will be inducted into the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals Hall of Fame at the group’s 37th annual convention this summer in Miami.
“Anytime you are recognized for the hard work and loyalty to an organization, it’s great,” said Horne, who flies cargo jets out of UPS’s World Port facility in Louisville, Ky. “Being a pilot was a career I always wanted. I cherish it. I never felt like it was a job.”
The convention is scheduled from July 30 to August 2.
In 1979, Horne joined the Organization of Black Airline Pilots (OBAP), which was founded in 1976 by 37 of the approximately 80 African-American men and women who were commercial airline pilots.
At the time, Horne was Flight Engineer for Trans World Airlines, which was based in St. Louis, Mo. Commercial airline pilots fly planes for privately held passenger carriers, not military aircraft. Major carriers include United Continental, American, Delta, FedEx and UPS.
“I am one of OBAP’s legacy members,” Horne said.
Last summer at the organization’s convention in Las Vegas, he and several others received plaques recognizing their early commitment to OBAP.
Horne and about 15 others will be inducted into OBAP’s Hall of Fame. Horne said he wasn’t sure if the hall of fame would be virtual or if would be physically located in OBAP’s headquarters, which is in Westchester, Ill., near Chicago.
The Organization of Black Airline Pilots was founded 13 years after Capt. Marlon Green became the first African-American pilot hired by a major U.S. commercial airline. Continental Airlines, which has since merged with United Airlines and is now called United Continental Holdings Inc., hired Green following a 1963 U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
According to OBAP’s website, about 674 African Americans are commercial airline pilots, including at least 14 black women, out of 71,000 pilots working for major commercial airlines.
Since the founding of OBAP, the group has changed its name to the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals in order to open its membership to other careers in aviation. OBAP recently held a membership drive, and about 900 individuals associated with aerospace industry, including airplane mechanics and pilots, are members, said Horne, who is chair of OBAP’s marketing and communications committee.
Horne, a native of Tacoma, Wash., and a graduate of the University of Puget Sound, which is also in Tacoma, has been an assistant chief pilot at UPS since 2001. He is also a UPS 747-400 flight standards examiner.
From 1991 to 2001, he was first officer and later captain for Japan Airlines, which is based in Tokyo. Horne was the first American and African-American hired by Japan Airlines as a first officer and promoted to captain.
He also worked as an air transport pilot for the General Motors Corp., a flight engineer and pilot for Eastern Airlines, and he was a member U.S. Air Force Reserves. His primary responsibilities were aerospace rescue and recovery.
During Desert Shield and Desert Storm in 1990 and 1991, Horne was a Civil Reserve Air Fleet 747 first officer for TWA. His job was to fly servicemen to U.S. bases in the Middle East and back to the U.S. Commercial airlines set aside planes to carry troops into war zones.
Horne also wants to help other African Americans enter the industry he loves. In 2006, he launched a scholarship with an initial donation of $10,000 and $2,000 annually for the next five years to assist qualified candidates in upgrading their flying skills. The Edward Horne Scholarship now gives out a $2,500 annually. The website is www.obap.org/scholarships/scholarship-opportunities/edward-horne-scholarship