Captain Deborah Hecker is chief pilot at Dallas Ft. Worth International Airport for American Airlines. A graduate of Michigan State University with a degree in international relations, she began her aviation career in 1994 flying freight out of a small Michigan airport. She then flew for Piedmont Airlines, before being hired by American Airlines in 1999. Deborah has flown the B737/757/767/777/A319/320/321 and as flight engineer on the B727 for American Airlines. She also completed training to become a certified American Airlines flight attendant on the B777-200, B757/767, B737, and MD80, becoming the first person in the history of American Airlines to be dual qualified as a pilot and flight attendant.
She has been an active member of WAI since 1996 and was awarded the American Airlines Women in Aviation B727 Type-Rating scholarship in 1998. She is a cofounder of the WAI Keep Flying Scholarship, Keep Flying South Africa Scholarship, and assisted in founding the American Airlines Engineering, Maintenance, and Veteran's Initiative Women in Aviation Scholarships.
In addition to pilot duties at American, she has been involved with numerous special projects involving customer experience, technical operations, pilot recruitment, diversity, and military veteran events. Deborah resides in Murphy, Texas with her husband and three sons.