Captain Arnold J. Tolbert

Captain Tolbert has headed the Department of Aviation and Safety at Florida Memorial University since August 2008. He was born and raised in the small town of Williston, South Carolina. He graduated from the University of South Carolina with honors and a degree in geography in 1975; earned a master’s degree in safety from the University of Central Missouri in 1978; and earned a doctorate in safety engineering from Warren National University in 2007. He received his flight training in the United States Air Force where he flew the KC 135 and was an instructor pilot in the T-37.

He was hired by American Airlines in 1987 and earned the rank of captain in 2000. He retired from American Airlines on September 2008 after 21 years of service and having earned type ratings on the Boeing 727, the Boeing 737, the MD-80, the MD-11, and the Airbus 300. His log book contains over 15,000 hours of flight time. He is the 2005 recipient of the Lt General Harold L. George Civilian Airmanship Award from the Order of Daedalians for heroic acts and outstanding airmanship during an engine fire after takeoff on July 30, 2005. This award is presented annually to the pilot, copilot and/or crew of a United States certified commercial airline selected by a Federal Aviation committee to have demonstrated ability, judgment and/or heroism above and beyond normal operational requirements. In addition, Captain Tolbert was awarded the 2007 Order of the Eagles Trophy which is the highest honor bestowed upon a crewmember by the American Airlines flight department.

Captain Tolbert currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI), the Board of Directors for the Greater Miami Aviation Association (GMAA) and in addition to serving as a Board member for the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP). 

He teaches Flight Safety, Aviation Weather, Crew Resource Management, Multi Engine Aircraft Systems, Aviation Labor Relations, Flight Physiology and Senior Project in Aviation.

Capt Tolbert has been an active member of OBAP since 1990. In addition, he is a member of the First Baptist Church of Ft Lauderdale where he serves as a deacon and adult Bible Study teacher. He and his wife Judy have been married for 33 years and are the proud parents of three grown children.