Southwest Flight 1380 pilots: "We were simply doing our jobs"

Emergency personnel monitor the damaged engine of Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 which diverted to the Philadelphia International Airport this morning after the airline crew reported damage to one of the aircraft's engines on a runway in Philadelphia P

The Internet is raving this week about Tammie Jo Shults, the incredible Southwest Airlines pilot who kept her cool during the emergency landing of Southwest Flight 1380 with 147 passengers on board on Tuesday at Philadelphia International Airport. Riordan was reportedly given CPR while on the plane and rushed to a hospital, but her injuries were too severe.

One of the engines on the Boeing 737 exploded while the plane was traveling 500 miles per hour at 30,000 feet with 149 people on board.

Several times in the recordings, Shults ends her communication with one air traffic controller as she passes to another handler by using a standard and courteous signoff: "Good day".

"We have a part of the aircraft missing, so we're going to need to slow down a bit", Shults replies, before settling into a lower altitude of 3,000 feet. The decompression led one of the passengers to get partially sucked out of the plane.

Pilot Tammie Jo Shults walked the aisles afterward to make sure passengers were okay.

"No its not on fire but part of it's missing", Shults responds.

According to Nav Canada, the private company that manages Canadian civil air navigation, less than 25 per cent of the workforce at the country's air traffic control centres are women.

After an inaudible exchange, the controller said, "we'll work it out there" at the airport in Philadelphia. She mastered how to fly supersonic fighter jets in an era when women were banned from combat roles, personifying the absurdity of the sexist policy that has since been repealed.

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Women aviators were excluded from combat missions until the month after Shults got off active duty in March 1993. Southwest said Wednesday it isn't sharing details about the flight crew, though a spokeswoman said, "We couldn't be more proud of their actions".

"On behalf of the entire Crew, we appreciate the outpouring of support from the public and our coworkers as we all reflect on one family's profound loss", the two pilots said in the statement, adding that their "hearts are heavy". She has provided housing for hurricane victims and widows, helps care for her disabled younger sister and her husband's elderly mother, and shares her faith in Christ with co-captains on Southwest flights.

But her path wasn't easy.

"He started the class by asking me, the only girl in attendance, if I was lost". As a private pilot, aircraft owner and airplane racer, I shared both the pride and the disappointment. "I did not say another word". She was awesome", Tumlinson said "The lady, the crew, everything, everybody was immaculate.

The New Mexico native graduated with university degrees in biology and agribusiness before joining the military.

But the challenges continued. In the early 1990s, her squadron was highlighted for its "avant garde" approach to integrating women and men into all responsibilities. She was accepted to flight school in Pensacola among the Navys first cohorts of women pilots.

A year after taking the Navy aviation exam, she found a recruiter to process her application. But she learned quickly that women were not widely regarded as having the right stuff for aviation. "My brother says she's the best pilot he knows".

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