The hero commercial pilot who safely landed a Boeing 737 full of passengers after shrapnel from an engine explosion breached the cabin was a former Navy pilot and one of the first women to take the stick of an F/A-18 fighter jet, according to reports.
Southwest Airlines pilot Tammie Jo Shults, 56, kept cool Tuesday as she brought Flight 1380 down for an emergency landing in Philadelphia when an engine exploded mid-air, according to passengers’ social media.
“A huge thank you to the Southwest Crew & Pilot Tammie Jo Shults for their knowledge and bravery under these circumstances. God bless each one of them,” passenger Diana McBride Self wrote on Facebook Tuesday.
“The pilot, Tammy Jo was so amazing! She landed us safely in Philly,” wrote Instagram user Amanda Bourman.
Pilot Who Calmly Landed Deadly Southwest Flight is Badass Christian with “Nerves of Steel” https://t.co/28kKsbaNTB
— MRSJVC (@aquasuede) April 18, 2018
After graduating from MidAmerica Nazarene University in Kansas in 1983, Shults signed up with the Navy and became one of its first female fighter pilots, according to a Facebook post by the school’s alumni association.
“She landed her fighter plane on boats at 150 miles per hour and eventually became an instructor,” an article about her posted to a pilot’ forum reads, noting she was among the first to pilot a supersonic F/A-18.
Shults, who lives in Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas, is married to pilot Dean Marcus Shults and has two children, Sydney and Marshall, according to Heavy.com.
Hi, Zoe. While we can't make any promise's she'll be on your flight, we certainly are happy to forward your compliments for her heroic efforts. We appreciate the support, we truly do. -Ariel
— Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) April 18, 2018
The plane was en route to Texas from La Guardia Airport when its left engine exploded around 11:20 a.m.
A piece of shrapnel flew up and busted out a window, which caused the cabin to depressurize and partially suck a woman out the hole. Seven people were treated for injuries, and one person died.
— Karen Bowman (@KBow5) April 18, 2018
There were 143 customers and five crew members on the plane.
This Southwest female pilot was incredibly cool under pressure. These are the female role models we need our girls to look up to, not actresses with vaginas on their heads. #southwest https://t.co/ySYfj5dbHs
— Andrea Klotz (@AndreaKlotz1) April 18, 2018
The flight traveling from New York City to Dallas suffered an engine failure, and a window exploded.
Tim McGinty, wearing a cowboy hat and a bandage around his arm, said he tried to pull Jennifer Riordan inside the plane himself, but couldn’t do it alone. The farm and ranch real estate worker was originally seated beside his wife across the aisle, a few seats ahead of the window explosion.