Bell Pilot Inspires New Generation of Women Aviators with Her First Book "Girls are Born to Fly"
To close out HAI Heli-Expo 2022 in Dallas, TX, Bell 525 Test Pilot BJ Lewis sat at the center of the Bell booth, promoting her very first children’s book. Bringing an end to a great event while simultaneously setting the stage for National Women’s History Month, she is honored to claim her seat at the table and share her experience with a new generation of aviators.
As a third-generation pilot, BJ carries on a 108-year legacy of Lewis aviators. She spent 20 years as an officer in the U.S. Navy as an accomplished helicopter pilot. She’s flown six different types of rotor and fixed wing aircraft and holds multiple flight certificates, including Certified Flight Instructor for Rotorcraft. But her journey at Bell began in 2006 when BJ joined as a flight instructor at Bell’s world-class Training Academy.
For years, she visited all corners of the world, bringing Bell’s vertical lift experiences to professional pilots before joining Bell’s flight test program. Currently, she supports Bell 525 flight test operations and is paving the way for the world’s first certified commercial fly-by-wire helicopter.
But now her impact extends beyond being a phenomenal pilot and leader. She’s adding “accomplished writer and storyteller” to her title, with her new book Girls are Born to Fly. BJ spent most of her career being the only woman in the conference room and on the flight line, overcoming the challenges that brought. She quickly realized she couldn’t wait to be invited to the table, she had to take her seat at the table. And that’s the same advice she hopes to impart on women today and future generations.
“If you find you are the only woman present when you enter a meeting room, take a seat at the table,” BJ says. “DO NOT sit in the back row. Ask questions and make yourself heard, your contribution is as important as anyone else’s.”
With Girls are Born to Fly, BJ hopes to help young girls dream, believe in themselves, paint with all the colors and break a few rules. “Don’t be afraid of your light or your strength,” she says. “After all, you were born to fly!”
Thinking above and beyond is what we do. For more than 85 years, we’ve been reimagining the experience of flight – and where it can take us.
We are pioneers. We were the first to break the sound barrier and to certify a commercial helicopter. We were a part of NASA’s first lunar mission and brought advanced tiltrotor systems to market. Today, we’re defining the future of advanced air mobility.
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