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Hero pilot Tammie Jo Shults lauded for 'nerves of steel'
20 April 2018, 01:04 | Tara Lloyd
Southwest Captain, Former Navy Pilot, Praised for Calm Amid Catastrophe
Shults then clarifies that there's no longer a fire but that the engine is lost.
Lujan said he saw debris from the engine scraping the plane. Air rushed out the shattered window.
With the window gone, the cabin depressurized and yellow oxygen masks automatically fell from their safe positions - and Riordan was partially pulled through the window before her fellow passengers could pull her back in.
In an instant, Captain Shults found herself in a situation mostpilots face only during training: having to land a plane after an engine goes out.
Shults was identified as the pilot by passengers on Southwest Airlines Flight 1380, which was en route from NY to Dallas when its left engine suddenly blew apart, shrapnel shattering a window and partially sucking one woman out of the plane. Shults' calm voice can be heard asking air traffic control, in an audio recording of their exchange.
She was among the first cohort of female fighter pilots to transition to tactical aircraft, the US Navy has confirmed.
Shults: "Could you have the medical meet us there on the runway as well?" After a brief period of on-air silence, she adds, "They said there's a hole and. and, uh, someone went out".
You've probably read about the near-disaster of Southwest Airlines flight 1380, which had to make an emergency landing after an engine exploded at 32,000 feet. The left engine looked like it had been ripped apart.
"This is a true American Hero", passenger Diana McBride Self wrote on Facebook. "God bless her and all the crew". It wasn't magic to her or her colleagues; they have trained and exercised for that moment of crisis for most of their careers. Passengers said the entire team-Shults, the other pilot, and three flight attendants-were calm and professional throughout the terrifying incident. "And thank God, I really believe, that you know, just God had a hand on her, he had her in that place, and she was there for a reason", Maloney said.
The initial findings from investigators show that Tuesday's emergency was eerily similar to an engine failure on another Southwest plane in 2016.
Shults was a 1983 graduate of the university in Olathe, Kansas, where she earned degrees in biology and agribusiness, said Carol Best, a university spokeswoman told The Kansas City Star.
Passengers also said they appreciated what Shults did after pulling off the landing: She walked through the cabin to speak to them and see how they were holding up.
Thompson is an Air Force veteran and and aviation instructor at Delaware State University who helps prepare future pilots for worst case scenarios.
Shults's heroic emergency landing along with other details and stories about passengers - including Jennifer Riordan, 43, a banking executive and mother of two from Albuquerque, New Mexico, who was killed - came to light Wednesday as federal investigators and airline officials dealt with the aftermath of the first fatal accident involving a US airliner in eight years.
"She did it for herself and all women fighting for a chance".
The Air Force rejected Shults - but wanted her brother. She left active service on March 31, 1993 - two days before the Navy asked the Clinton administration to open combat assignments to women. Five years earlier, Rosella Bjornson became Canada's first commercial pilot.
Her brother-in-law, Gary Shults said, "She's a formidable woman, as sharp as a tack". She and her husband both now fly for Southwest Airlines.
"Everybody was crying and upset", she said.
"I mustered up the courage to assure him I was not and that I was interested in flying", she wrote in a passage for the book.
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