Bass was born in 1952 and was the first female captain of an American Airlines aircraft. She was hired in 1976 by American Airlines as their third female pilot. In October 1986, Bass became the first female captain at American Airlines and later that year became the captain of American Airlines’ first all-female crew.
On September 11th 2001, Bass was piloting a Boeing 777 en route to Fort Worth International Airport when American airspace was closed due to the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre. She was ordered to land at Gander International Airport in Gander, Newfoundland.
Her experience in Gander is told in the musical Come From Away alongside all of the other passengers and cabin crew that were stranded for days. Particularly in the song ‘Me and the Sky’ which documents Bass’ love for aviation and her journey to becoming a captain. Including the heartbreaking moment where she states that the thing that she loves the most had been used as a bomb.
I chose Bass to write about because I find her determination to succeed in a male-dominated profession truly inspiring. Furthermore, the character portrayal in Come From Away is largely from the creators meeting the people that inspire the characters. During the show, Bass’ ability to put her passengers needs and emotions before her own is incredible to watch and inspires me to be more compassionate.
Written by Holly Webster (she/her) from Crewe, UK. Follow them on Twitter! This project, Tales from Wo-Fan’s Land, is a series of stories written by Frank Turner fans, inspired by his new album No Man’s Land.