Tammie Jo Shults Saved the Day — and Lots of Lives

Yesterday, a pilot had to make an emergency landing at the Philadelphia International Airport, after an engine exploded on a flight from New York to Dallas. Shrapnel from the engine blew out a window; a passenger was partially sucked out, but other passengers pulled her back in; one passenger died and seven others were injured; and Captain Tammie Jo Shults landed the plane safely.

The recording of Shults' conversation with air traffic control is remarkable. She is so calm.

Air Traffic Control (a man's voice): Southwest 1380, I understand your emergency. Let me know when you want to go in.

Shults: So, we have a part of the aircraft missing, so we're gonna need to slow down a bit.

ATC: Southwest 1380, speed is your discretion. Maintain at any altitude above 3,000 feet.

Shults: Southwest 1380, like to turn — start turning inbound.

ATC: Southwest 1380, start turning southbound there. There's a Southwest 737 on a 4-mile final; be turning southbound. Start looking for the airport. It's off to your right and slightly behind you there. And altitude is your discretion. Use caution for the downtown area.

Shults: Okay. Could you have the medical meet us there on the runway as well? We've got injured passengers.

ATC: Injured passengers, okay. And are you— Is your airplane physically on fire?

Shults: No, it's not on fire, but part of it's missing. They said there is a hole and someone went out.
Wow. Shults developed those "nerves of steel" during her career as the first female fighter pilots for the U.S. Navy, where she had to fight for her place after the Airforce wouldn't even give her the time of day.
In the midst of the chaos, Shults successfully completed an emergency landing at the Philadelphia International Airport, sparing the lives of 148 people aboard the Boeing 737-700 and averting a far worse catastrophe.

"She has nerves of steel," one passenger, Alfred Tumlinson, told the Associated Press. "That lady, I applaud her. 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 awesome."

Another passenger, Diana McBride Self, thanked Shults on Facebook for her "guidance and bravery in a traumatic situation." She added that Shults "came back to speak to each of us personally."

"This is a true American Hero," McBride wrote.

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