In December 1977, Illinois native Lynn Rippelmeyer—now a Magnolia resident—and fellow crew member Emilie Jones made history as the first all-female flight crew for a scheduled airline. Rippelmeyer continued to make history, becoming the first female pilot to fly a Boeing 747 in 1980 and the first woman to captain a 747 transatlantic flight in 1984, she said.
Rippelmeyer will be featured on “We’ll Meet Again” with Ann Curry—a PBS show highlighting historical moments by featuring those who lived through them—on Jan. 8. at 8 p.m., according to a press release. The episode, titled “The Fight for Women’s Rights,” includes Rippelmeyer’s hunt to find Jones 41 years after their first flight together, the press release said.
“It was a totally real search,” Rippelmeyer said in an interview. “[The TV show crew] wouldn’t tell me whether they actually found Emilie [Jones]. They wanted to get a real reaction from me.”
Rippelmeyer, now retired and settled in her home in Lake Windcrest, founded the Roatán Support Effort, or ROSE—a nonprofit charitable organization that collects, transports and delivers donated supplies and equipment—after witnessing the city’s need for supplies during her daily commercial flights to Honduras. While she has retired, she still uses her travel privileges to bring supplies to Roatán.
“Moving here was probably one of my life’s biggest surprises. I had this negative idea of what the Houston area would be, but I was wrong. I love it,” she said in an interview. “Everyone here is so kind and willing to help.”
Rippelmeyer’s uniform and photo are featured in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.