The challenge of the perceived impossible In 2005, the Boeing 777-200 Longer Range set a new long distance record, from Hong Kong to London - the long way - one hundred years after the Wright Brothers made the first recorded distance flight. Chief pilot Suzanna Darcy-Hennemann will celebrate the 100th Wilbur and Orville Wright lecture by recounting the challenges of the Boeing 777-200LRs distance flight and the flight test program. Darcy-Hennemann will also recognize other centennial anniversary milestones involving women aviators on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean to highlight the passion that drives every aviator - the challenge of the perceived impossible and the poetry of the aircraft. 

About the speaker:

Capt Suzanna Darcy-Hennemann, Chief Pilot – Director of Training Training and Flight Services - Boeing Commercial Airplanes

Capt. Suzanna Darcy-Hennemann was named Chief Pilot – Director of Training for Boeing Training and Flight Services in October of 2008. She is responsible for Flight Training operations in 20 campuses globally. Darcy-Hennemann was named chief pilot for the 777 program in January 2007. Responsible for engineering flight-test activities related to all Boeing 777 airplane models, including working with Engineering on the design requirements for future 777 derivatives. Prior to her current assignment, Darcy-Hennemann served as Senior Engineering 777 Pilot. She has been an integral member of the 777 Program since its inception, contributing to the design, testing and certification of the initial airplane, new derivatives and added features and technologies of the award-winning Boeing widebody. Darcy-Hennemann’s contributions to the 777 Program include the following:

Between May and December of 2005, led the overall flight-test program for certification of the 777-200LR (Longer Range).

In November 2005, served as project pilot leader when the 777-200LR set a world record for distance traveled nonstop by a commercial jetliner.

In 2003, tested the GE 90-115B engine on the 777-300ER (Extended Range), with lead responsibility for the No. 2 airplane.

In 2003, led the development and launch of the Boeing electronic flight bag for the 777, which was the first step in making the airplane fully

Between 1994 and 1996, did extensive work supporting the 777’s original certification testing, including serving as lead pilot on the final Boeing 777-200 to enter flight testing. In this capacity, she was responsible for the Rolls-Royce-powered 777's 1,000-cycle validation program – the equivalent of at least a year's worth of typical airline service – in the United States, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.

Darcy-Hennemann became rated as a captain on the Boeing 747-400 in 1989, and later achieved captain status on the 737, 757, 767 and 777 jetliners and was the first woman to Captain the 777 and 747-400. Previously she was also an Instructor on the 737, 757/767 747-400 and 777 as well. She joined Boeing in 1974 and spent her initial years in Engineering. Outside of work, Darcy-Hennemann is a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and served as a guest speaker and participant in many industry and community forums, including: the Royal Aeronautical Society’s Seattle Branch, the GE Lecture Series at the Smithsonian, the Flight Safety Foundation Approach and Landing Accident Reduction Operations Team, and the NASA Goddard Engineering Colloquium. She also mentor’s college students and Boeing employees, feeling with so much opportunity in her career, the need to give back in return. Darcy-Hennemann’s awards include Outstanding Alumni Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering and Outstanding Engineering Alumni – University of Washington as well as “100 of 100” – the top 100 graduates of the University of Washington, celebrating the University’s 100th anniversary. She received the Women in Aerospace Outstanding Leadership Award in 2000 as well as the Laurels Award for Leadership from Aviation Week that same year. She was also honored with a tree in her name in the 99’s Forrest of Friendship. In 2005 she led the team that broke a long standing record for distance in a 777-200LR going from Hong Kong to London. This flight not only holds the distance record for the National Aeronautic Society (NAA) but also two speed records in that flight. The flight is also a Guinness World Book of Records. In 2006 Darcy-Hennemann won the Katherine and Marjorie Stinson Award from the NAA. In February of 2010, Darcy-Hennemann was inducted into the Pioneer Hall of Fame for Women in Aviation International as well as a Pathfinder at the Museum of Flight. Darcy-Hennemann graduated from the University of Washington in 1981 with a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautics and astronautics engineering. She and her husband reside in the Puget Sound region of Washington State.

Royal Aeronautical Society
28 January 2012