'That's how she's wired': Southwest Airlines pilot lauded for handling crisis

Friday, 20 Apr, 2018

Travelers said fellow passengers dragged Riordan back in as the sudden decompression of the cabin pulled her part way through the smashed window. Passengers panicked and flight attendants sprang into action. Amanda Bourman, a passenger on Southwest flight 1380 posted on social media.

The controller asked if the plane was on fire.

The entire flight was over in 40 minutes as the plane made an emergency landing in Philadelphia 22 minutes after the engine blew.

It should come as no surprise that the heroic pilot who landed a stricken Southwest Airlines 737 after its engine exploded and shattered a window is former Navy fighter pilot.

In the seats behind her, passengers sent goodbye text messages to loved ones, tightened oxygen masks around their faces and braced for impact.

"We just got lucky, we had the right pilot for that event", said Coleman.

But Captain Shults, 56, was in control. Before that she was one of the first female fighter pilots in the US Navy for F-18 fighter jets. "Could you have medical meet us there on the runway as well?"

After the mid-air blast tore a gaping hole in the aircraft's side she told shocked air traffic controllers "there's a hole and uh... someone went out".

Shults managed to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, avoiding a more serious tragedy. The left engine looked like it had been ripped apart. "A huge thank you for her knowledge, guidance, and bravery". God bless her and the team. If not for her, more passengers could have been hurt.

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

Impressive lady! I expect Tammie Jo Shults to get at least the @Captsully treatment!

US National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt said that the engine will be shipped for a detailed examination.

Shults apparently learned cool under fire as a Navy flyer of F-18s after being rejected by the Air Force.

"While we at that time had an exclusion, she was in fact helping male pilots hone their skills", Flanders said.

A meeting with a female pilot while she was a junior at MidAmerican Nazarene University inspired her to keep at it. She enrolled in Navy flight school in Pensacola, Florida, in 1985 - the start of a decade of groundbreaking service.

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 USA airliner in eight years.

The Air Force rejected Shults - but wanted her brother. "She pushed the limits and became what she strived for".

According to an online military aviation forum, she was one of the first women to fly F-18s, landing her fighter plane on boats at 150 miles (240 kilometers) per hour before eventually becoming an instructor.

BOERNE, Texas - The Southwest Airlines pilot being lauded as a hero in a harrowing emergency landing after a passenger was partially blown out of the jet's damaged fuselage is also being hailed for her pioneering role in a career where she has been one of the few women at the controls. "And that's a foundation that carries on to Southwest Airlines and the great standardization she received there as well".