Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame 2020 Inductee:
BARBARA J. WILEY LINDQUIST 1945-
December 1, 2019
Barbara Wiley is a native of Robbinsdale. Her father was the pilot for her first airplane ride at the Crystal Airport. She later soloed a Cessna 150 in 1965 and earned her Private Pilot License a year later. She went on to earn her Instrument, Seaplane and ATP licenses by 1971. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from the University of Minnesota and taught in the Osseo School District.
While also working as a chief pilot for charter operations, a flight instruction, private and instrument ground school, she wrote operation and training manuals.
After accumulating 4,000 flight hours, she applied for a flight crew position at North Central Airlines. Because she was a woman seeking a job in a male dominated occupation, she masked that fact by only using her first initial and last name on her application.
She was hired by North Central Airlines in 1974 as a First Officer to fly the Convair 580, becoming one of the first women hired by a major airline to fly "right seat." She made headlines with the first all-female flight crew in 1979 when she, Karen Klein and Ramona Larson conducted a round-trip from Kalamazoo to Chicago in a Convair.
Her successful pioneering career continued with her becoming a DC-9 First Officer in 1977, a 580 captain in 1979, a DC-9 Captain in 1984 and an Airbus A320 Captain in 1991. She achieved the rank of Captain in the 747-400 in 2004.
Following her retirement from flying with the airlines in 2005, she transitioned to screening and interviewing prospective new pilots for Compass and Endeavor Airlines.
Wiley-Lindquist made many life-long friends among the flying cadre during her career as an airline pilot. Her mellow attitude and wit, plus her amiable manner, endeared her to all the pilots who flew alongside her. She was confident enough of herself and her equipment that she very often did not carry an overnight bag with her.
She is characterized as a role model and a pathfinder, leading the way for others to follow. She made people feel comfortable and was noted by a fellow pilot as "technically proficient with a sharp wit and a generous heart."
Wiley-Lindquist continues to participate in programs such as Girls in Aviation Day. She offers encouragement to young women pursuing careers in aviation.
She also continues to fly her Cessna 172 amphibious/float plane at various seaplane events.