Elizabeth Tilden, 2018 AMT Next Gen 40 Under 40 Award Winner

Sept. 20, 2018
39, General Manager, Airframe Supplier Operations, Delta Air Lines, Atlanta, GA Years in Aviation: 20

Aviation is in Elizabeth Eli Tilden's blood, literally. Eli’s father is a pilot, and her sister is a flight attendant. And her husband, Scott, works in technical operations and hopefully her two boys will follow the family tradition.

Mentors include John Goglia, Mike Lane, Gary and Mary Ann Eiff, and Denver Lopp.

She received training from Orange Coast Community College (A&P), has a bachelor's of arts from the University of California - San Diego, and a master's of science degree from Purdue University School of Aviation in industrial technology with a focus on human factors management. She's been awarded several scholarships from Professional Aviation Maintenance Association (PAMA), Women in Aviation International (WAI), and the Association of Women in Aviation Maintenance (AWAM). She is a member of WAI, AWAM, and Women in Technology. 

Eli’s career has spanned several transportation areas, such as helicopters, general and business aviation, railroads, the National Transportation Safety Board (where she served under the Honorable Board Member, John Goglia), and several Part 121 air carriers. She’s been with Delta Air Lines for the last 10 years, and currently serves as the general manager, Airframe Supplier Operations. The division is responsible for over 400 maintenance events for the 860+  aircraft in Delta’s fleet. 

Nominated by Jim Hickey, Program Manager, ODA Engineering, Delta Air Lines: "Eli has a passion for safety and the aviation maintenance business. Her personal experiences of loss and tragedy, resulting from aircraft-related incidents, drive her pursuit to minimize risk in the maintenance ecosystem. One of her trademarks is combining data innovation in the airframe operation. For example, her projects have driven practices that make the AMTs more safety-minded, create a stronger reliability program, and allow for predictive indicators of aircraft condition. Eli states that she particularly enjoys airframe maintenance, because it centers on the labor which is a product of people working together. While Eli’s career in aviation has been rewarding, she recognizes that it came with many challenges. Specifically, it was and still is, male dominated. Additionally, she believes the interest for the career field is waning. Nonetheless, Eli is optimistic and hopeful about the future and the changing landscape. She is grateful to have had amazing mentors and companies with innovative and inclusive cultures (such as Delta Air Lines), who have given her the opportunity to grow into the leader she is today. She hopes she can pay it forward, and do the same for the next upcoming generation of aviators.

To give back to the industry she is a mentor in several Delta organizations. Tilden has taught at Purdue University, a Part 147 school. And she has published several academic papers, and has been a speaker at SAE and MRO conferences. 

Her career goals are "to create an environment where amazing things can happen every day."