Erika DeLong — Transgender Advocacy Committee Chair (Minneapolis, MN)
Erika grew up in an aviation family. She is a third generation pilot who at the age of five she wanted to be an airline pilot, and that she was different than others - she felt her gender identity did not match her physical body. At the age of nineteen, with zero hours, Ericka purchased her first airplane - a 1966 Cessna 150 - and began taking lessons.
Working as a boat rigger to pay for flying, she worked through all her ratings including CFI, CFII, MEII, SES, and ATP by hopping around to different flight schools to complete her training for the cheapest price.
In 1989, Erika began flying the SAAB 340 at Mesaba Airlines. Through a couple changes/mergers. Erika has continued to fly for the same company and is currently a Captain on the CRJ-900 at Endeavor Airlines based out of MSP. In 2014, at the age of 40, Erika worked with the Airline Pilot Association, her company, its parent company's legal team, and her chief pilot to achieve a smooth and successful male to female gender transition.
While Erika is not flying Part 121, she lives in suburb of Minneapolis/St Paul metro area with her wife of 13 years Paula, and their daughter, Piper. Erika loves sharing the passion of flying with her family and has been working on developing the next generation of DeLong pilots. With over 13,000 flight hours, Erika's favorite kind of flying is in her Aeronca Champ, especially on skis as she explores Minnesota's frozen lakes.
Erika joined the NGPA in 2016 with the goal of meeting other transgender pilots and being a mentor (along with her cis-wife) to other transgender couples and individuals. With Erika's vast knowledge dealing with gender transition, she is here to serve the NGPA Transgender Advocacy committee as a co-chair. Free free to contact her with any questions you may have and know that everything will be kept confidential with this private subject.