Southwest Airlines hero pilot texted friend 'God is good' after landing

Glen Norman
April 20, 2018

Tragically, one woman was partially sucked out of the window opening and later died from her injuries. After a brief period of on-air silence, she adds, "They said there's a hole and. and, uh, someone went out". "A huge thank you for her knowledge, guidance and bravery in a traumatic situation".

A Valley photographer captured images of Tammie Jo Shults, the pilot of ill-fated Southwest Airlines flight 1380. "I was curious when I first listened to it (to see) if I would recognize her voice". "She saved a lot of lives today".

On Tuesday, flight 1380's left engine suddenly exploded, sending shrapnel into the cabin and bursting at least one window.

As reports of her unexpected emergency telephone to broadcast traffic controllers began to circulate following this incident, Shults was hailed a hero.

Russo and Staci Thompson, who has known Shults for about 20 years and was nanny to her two children when they were small, said she "loved" her military career but has alluded to frustrations and challenges that came with it.

"Heck no, she's a strong Christian lady", she said. "I'm going to send her a Christmas card - I'm going to tell you that - with a gift certificate for getting me on the ground". "She was very good".


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. Seven others were injured.

"The pilot, Tammy (sic) Jo was so incredible!" wrote passenger Amanda Bourman on Instagram next to a picture of the ruptured engine on the tarmac.

Tammie Jo Shults was at the controls of the Dallas-bound Flight 1380 when it made an emergency landing in Philadelphia, said her husband, Dean Shults.

According to a relative, her husband is also a pilot for Southwest.

"A true American hero. I mustered up the courage to assure him I was not and that I was interested in flying", she said in the book. "I set to work trying to break into the club".

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.


Women aviators were excluded from combat missions until the month after Shults got off active duty in March 1993. Shults, a New Mexico native and graduate of MidAmerica Nazarene University, was one of the first women pilots in the Navy to be trained to fly a fighter aircraft.

MidAmerican Nazarene alumni director Kevin Garber recalled Shults spoke at the school past year. Despite attempted CPR, she passed away. "She pushed the limits and became what she strived for".

Passenger Alfred Tumlinson told WPVI: "She has nerves of steel".

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.

Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said the plane had undergone an inspection two days before the explosion, but he said he was not aware of the nature of that inspection or whether it included a specific inspection of that engine.


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