SHIRLEY - Two commercial pilots visited a class at the Eastern Long Island Academy of Applied Technology in Shirley today to inspire and encourage the next generation of female pilots.

American Airlines Captain Bonnie Tiburzi Caputo was the first female pilot hired by a commercial airline in 1973. She says she kept writing and calling until she was in the cockpit.

“Captain is really the CEO of that plane,” Caputo said. “You are taking care of your flight attendants, your crew, the passengers. But you can't be a bully, either.”

First Officer Pam Heide also spoke to the class, which her son is in.

Both women are qualified to fly Boeing 757 and 767 jets.