A. Tomica Adams

OBAP Board of Directors
Vice Chair

United Airlines - Captain

OBAP Member since 1998

A. Tomica Adams

OBAP Board of Directors - Vice Chair

United Airlines - Captain

OBAP Member Since 1998

Memories of summer vacations and holidays flights to visit grandma throughout childhood, easily won neighborhood athletic feats in youth, and the intrigue of watching women wearing fancy clothes walking runways all while displaying both grace and attitude as an adolescent, all converged in early adulthood to shape the person everyone now knows as Captain Alma Tomica Carter Adams. 

Tomica believes her professional career was launched, however, on flights to Wilmington, NC from Boston, MA to visit family.  On one of these flights, while also holding her breath, she became curious about what became a recurring question: “How does this pilot find the runway and land the airplane so smoothly, when just minutes prior he skimmed the water and avoided major disaster?” It was this question that birthed her interest in not only aviation but also engineering.

Given dual areas of interest, she began her quest to attend a university that offered both degree programs. Having no such luck, she entered into the first program she was accepted to the Purdue University School of Engineering. It did not take long for the mystique of engineering to lose its appeal becoming second to her revived interest in aviation and becoming a pilot. She packed her bags in the Midwest and headed to the Pacific Northwest to reunite with her mother (who had recently relocated there). She promptly enrolled in the University of Washington to continue her post-secondary educational pursuits and patiently awaited admittance to a nearby Flight Technology program offered through Central Washington University. She made great friends at the University of Washington and was initiated into her beloved volunteer service organization, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. Her patience and plan proved successful and she later transferred and successfully graduated from Central Washington University in 1996.

The years following graduation proved to be a challenge. For three consecutive years, Tomica worked to build flight time as a flight instructor while also working other part-time jobs. Then, fortunate to transition to a position in which she reveled, she was hired as a demonstration pilot for Raytheon Aircraft Company, flying every civilian aircraft Beechcraft manufactured at that time. Once typed in a B400A, she transitioned to Flight Options continuing her pursuit of building flight time. Although it appeared much longer at the time, a mere four years later she applied for her first major airline and was hired by Continental Airlines (now United Airlines). Captain Adams has flown B737, B757, B767, and now the B777 while at United Airlines and currently also works to support pilot recruitment and hiring for her company. 

Tomica credits her decision to attend her first OBAP conference in 1998 while pursuing her degree in-flight technology as one of the reasons she has had the career success she now enjoys. She believes because OBAP played a significant role in changing her life for the better, she is committed to serving and supporting her son Langston and others in the industry in achieving the life of their dreams. 

Updated: 20191121

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