Who is Tammie Jo Shults? The Southwest pilot who landed damaged plane

Mark Makela  Reuters

Mark Makela Reuters

"We are not sharing details about the flight crew, though we couldn't be more proud of their actions", a company spokeswoman told Task & Purpose on Wednesday.

Asked if the plane was on fire, she replied: 'It's not on fire but part of it is missing.

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

This March 20, 2017 photo provided by Kevin Garber at MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, Kan., shows Tammie Jo Shults, one of the pilots of a Southwest Airlines twin-engine Boeing 737 bound from NY to Dallas that made an emergency landing at the Philadelphia International Airport after the aircraft blew one of its engines Tuesday, April 17, 2018. The pilot took the plane into a rapid descent as passengers using oxygen masks that dropped from the ceiling braced for impact. Flight attendants frantically performed CPR on the critically injured passenger, who later died at a hospital. Shults' calm voice can be heard asking air traffic control, in an audio recording of their exchange.

Navy spokesperson Lt. Christina H. Sears tells CNBC Make It that while she can not confirm whether Shults was the first woman to fly an F/A-18 Hornet, she confirmed that Shults "was among the first cohort of women pilots to transition to tactical aircraft".

"OK, could you have the medical meet us there on the runway as well? They said there's a hole and that someone went out", she said.

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Shults' brother-in-law, Gary Shults, said her husband also is a Southwest pilot and told him she had made the emergency landing. The left engine looked like it had been ripped apart. "This is a true American Hero", she wrote. "A huge thank you for advice her knowledge and bravery at a situation. God bless her and all the crew", she added. If not for her, more passengers could have been hurt.

"Everybody is talking about Tammie Jo and how cool and calm she was in a crisis, and that's just Tammie Jo", Rachel Russo said. Much of the National Transportation Safety Board investigation into the incident will focus on why such a workhorse jet (and more specifically, its CFM56-7B engine) failed so catastrophically.

Anderson said airplanes like the one Shults piloted are actually created to fly on one engine, which is something pilots train for. I grew up under it, ' she said in the book, written by Linda Maloney.

A meeting with a female pilot while she was a junior at MidAmerican Nazarene University inspired her to keep at it. Shults, 56, was among the first female fighter pilots in the U.S. Navy.

At the time, Shults was assigned to Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 34, an electronic aggressor squadron, "All Hands" reported.

The Air Force rejected Shults - but wanted her brother. She later became an instructor.

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Shults was commissioned into the Navy in 1985 and reached the rank of lieutenant commander, said Commander Ron Flanders, the spokesman for Naval Air Forces in San Diego.

Heavy.com reported that Shults once said that "sitting in the captain's chair as a pilot gave her the opportunity 'to witness for Christ on nearly every flight'".

The heroic pilot who safely guided a Southwest Airlines flight to a safe landing in the midst of a mid-flight explosion has spoken out. She and her husband both now fly for Southwest Airlines.

During training, she still had to overcome the military's bias against female pilots.

"She is undoubtedly a pioneer, being a Hornet driver well before the combat exclusion law was lifted", Westrich said in an interview.

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