Hero Southwest pilot Talks out# &:039 ;We simply do our Tasks'

Emergency personnel monitor the damaged engine of Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 which diverted to the Philadelphia International Airport this morning after the airline crew reported damage to one of the aircraft's engines on a runway in Philadelphia P

Emergency personnel monitor the damaged engine of Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 which diverted to the Philadelphia International Airport this morning after the airline crew reported damage to one of the aircraft's engines on a runway in Philadelphia P

After the engine explosion pitched the aircraft 41 degrees to the left, the plane's pilot Tammie Jo Shults and her co-pilot Darren Ellisor steadied the 737 and began a rapid emergency descent.

"We owe her our lives", passenger Marty Martinez said in a text message Wednesday. But I think I'm on safe ground here predicting that when Shults gets her Sullenberger moment, she will deflect the praise toward her First Officer and, especially, the cabin crew.

Seven other people were slightly injured.

The former Navy pilot managed to safely land the aircraft at Philadelphia International Airport, however, one woman tragically died after being sucked from the window of the plane.

In the cockpit of the Boeing 737 en route from NY to Dallas, Shults calmly informed air traffic control about the problems and arranged for emergency crews to meet her plane at its new destination.

Shrapnel hit the plane and passengers said they had to rescue a woman who was being blown out of a damaged window. Despite attempted CPR, she passed away.

"Everybody is talking about Tammie Jo and how cool and calm she was in a crisis, and that's just Tammie Jo", said Rachel Russo, a friend from Shults' church in Boerne, Texas, about 30 miles northwest of San Antonio.

The controller asked if the plane was on fire. "But part of it's missing".

For the next 40 minutes, she displayed what one passenger later called "nerves of steel", maneuvering the plane, which had been on its way from La Guardia Airport in NY to Dallas Love Field, toward Philadelphia for an emergency landing.

"Thank you. We're going to stop right here by the fire trucks", Shults says.

Women aviators were excluded from combat missions until the month after Shults got off active duty in March 1993. "We are not sharing details about the flight crew, though we couldn't be more proud of their actions", a company spokeswoman told Task & Purpose on Wednesday. A Navy veteran, Shults calmly informed air traffic controllers about the changing conditions of the plane's status.

"We have a part of the aircraft missing, so we're going to need to slow down a bit", Shults said at one point.

The captain and her crew have been heralded for keeping their calm during an incredibly unsafe situation with Shults being described as a "hero" with "nerves of steel".

But her path wasn't easy. The lessons started early on, when she entered the Navy in 1985. "He was flying with her".

But despite her accomplishments, she came up against the limits placed on women in the military.

"Muhammad Ali said, 'Whoa, now I am scared".

But the challenges continued.

Tammi Escajeda, a teacher at Meadowland, said Shults visits the school on Fridays, describing to students the things she's done, places she has flown, her responsibilities in the cockpit, as well as teaching handwriting techniques and basic manners. According to ABC News, she was trained at a time when female pilots were not allowed to fly with combat units.

"We all feel we were simply doing our jobs".

Shults made an initial call to air traffic control, but her next communications were either lost in dense static or consisted only of the plane's alarm systems beeping.

Shults, raised on a New Mexico ranch, grew up dreaming of being a pilot as she watched planes fly overhead from the nearby Holloman Air Force Base, she recalled in a passage for the 2012 book "Military Fly Moms", which profiled the careers of female pilots. And given her heroism, as well as her groundbreaking career, the internet was quick to not only praise her but to also begin campaigning for a movie about her awesome story.

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.