Olga E. Custodio is a Retired Captain from American Airlines with over 11,000 hours of flight time has flown the Boeing 727, Fokker 100, Boeing 757, and Boeing 767 to the Caribbean, Central America, South America, Europe, Mexico Canada and U.S. Her education and professional certificates include an Air Transport Pilot certificate with single and multiengine land and instrument ratings, a Flight Engineer Certificate – Turbojet Powered rating, a Radiotelephone Operator permit, FAA Medical Certificate and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Puerto Rico. She recently graduated from the Masters Leadership Program, MLP, in San Antonio.
Olga is also a Retired Lt Colonel from the United States Air Force (USAF) Reserves with 24 years of service. She received her commission through Officer Training School in 1980. She was the first Hispanic female to graduate from USAF Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT.) Graduating in the top 5%, she received her fighter pilot qualification and became the first female T-38 UPT flight instructor at Laughlin AFB and then the first female T-38 Pilot Instructor Training (PIT) flight instructor at Randolph AFB. She was awarded the Air Force HQ Air Education and Training Command (AETC) Aviation Safety Award for superior airmanship during an engine failure bird strike emergency and executing a safe heavy-weight landing in weather minimums.
In l987, Olga resigned her USAF regular commission to fly for American Airlines. She entered the USAF Reserves and was assigned to Officer Training School as an instructor. She was later assigned to the HQs Personnel Center. When she started her 20-year commercial airline pilot career, she started out based in Chicago in the Boeing 727 as a flight engineer, then moved up to First Officer based in Dallas-Ft Worth within a short time. She flew the B-727 internationally to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America. Olga got her Air Transport Pilot certificate and became a Fokker 100 Captain a few years later. In her last five years with American, she was based in Miami and flew the Boeing-757 & 767 internationally to primarily Europe and South America.
Olga is a member of the Women Military Aviators Association (charter member), the Women in Aviation, International, Inc., the Allied Pilots Association, and the Order of Daedalians. Olga is an Executive Director and Treasurer of the Women in Aviation International Alamo City Chapter; on the Board of Directors of the Dee Howard Foundation; a Trustee of the Order of Daedalians’ Foundation and serves on the Foundation’s Scholarship committee; on the Stinsons Flight #2 Board as well as Stinson’s Flight #2 Scholarship Chair; serves as a mentor with the Aviation Explorers organization in San Antonio and the School of Aeronautics of the Inter American University in Puerto Rico; and is the Vice President of the Hispanic Association of Aviation and Aerospace Professionals (HAAAP), a non-profit organization she helped found in 2010 in San Antonio, Texas. Olga owned and founded Dragonfly Productions, LLC, where she produced several personal documentaries for clients and organizations. She closed the company after 6+ years of operations.
Olga is currently featured in a Modelo Especial “Fighting Spirit” commercial shown on national TV in both English and Spanish markets. In May 2018, as a keynote speaker for El Concilio Organization’s 50th anniversary and Latina Leadership Luncheon, Olga was recognized by the city of Stockton, California, the California Legislature, and the California Congressional US House of Representatives. Among the numerous recognitions Olga has received, on March 30, 2017, Olga was the first Latina inducted into the San Antonio Aviation and Aerospace Hall of Fame for her professional accomplishments and recognition as the first Latina pilot in the military and commercial aviation. Olga has been recognized twice by the Senate of Puerto Rico as an outstanding and exemplary citizen and the first and only Puerto Rican female pilot in the United States Air Force and American Airlines. She received the Sociedad Herencia Puertorriqueña CoquiSA Award in 2017 for her contributions and recognition of the three pillars of SHP’s mission: Culture, Education, and Community. In 2013, Olga was recognized as a “FIRST” at the VWISE (Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship) Conference held in Chicago, IL. She was one of the award recipients of “La Belleza Inteligente 2001,” recognized by Elizabeth Arden and Revista Imagen of Puerto Rico.
In the past, Olga served on the Advisory Board for the Southwest Texas Junior College Career Pilot Technical Program and the San Antonio Museum of Art Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund Grant. She participated in a film produced by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Hispanics in Aviation shown at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C. to encourage youngsters, especially Hispanics, to pursue aviation careers. She also participated in the PBS KLRN film “Wings over the Alamo.” She has volunteered her time as a speaker and role model at many schools, universities, corporations, military base groups and organizations like the Boy and Girl Scouts of America and Big Brother and Big Sisters, encouraging and inspiring young women and men to reach for their dreams.
Olga has been the director and founder of the Ballet Folklorico Boriken, a Puerto Rican folk dance group in San Antonio, Texas, since 1992. The group was founded to promote and preserve Olga’s cultural heritage in Texas and has participated in many cultural and educational events. Boriken was the only group representing Puerto Rico in the annual Texas Folklife Festival for over 22 years. Olga is also a member of the Puerto Rican Heritage Society in San Antonio and currently serves as Chair of Rules & Regulations Committee. As an active member and past President, Olga has coordinated many cultural and educational activities for the community of San Antonio. Her love of music leads her to learn to play the “Cuatro”, an acoustic guitar-like instrument and the national instrument of Puerto Rico. She is a member and plays with Ecos de Puerto Rico, a “cuatro” orchestra in San Antonio, Texas.
Olga is married to Edwin Custodio, her best friend, supporter, and advocate for everything she sponsors. They have two children, Marcia and Edwin II, and one grandson, Jedi. Her parents, Ismael and Olga Nevarez, live in San Antonio, and she has a brother, Peter Nevarez, who lives in Miami, Florida. Olga enjoys cooking, traveling, and, most of all, spending time with her family.
READ MORE ABOUT THE WASP PANEL