Tammie Jo Shults, former Navy fighter pilot, lands damaged 737

| April 18, 2018

Fox News reports that Tammie Jo Shults, one of the Navy’s first female fighter pilots, was forced to land her damaged Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 saving the lives of the 143 passengers and five crew on board.

Jennifer Riordan, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, was identified as the woman who died. Riordan was the mother of two and a Wells Fargo bank executive.

Witnesses told WCAU that a woman was “partially sucked out” of an airplane window and shrapnel from the exploded engine smashed it, but it remains unclear whether Riordan was that passenger.

Seven others were injured.

“We have a part of the aircraft missing, so we’re going to need to slow down a bit,” Shults told air traffic controllers from the cockpit, Reuters reported.

Shults took the plane into a rapid descent as passengers employed oxygen masks and braced for impact. The veteran pilot managed to safely land the plane at Philadelphia International at 11:30 a.m.

One passenger cited by The Kansas City Star, lauded Shults’ “nerves of steel.”

Category: Who knows

Comments (59)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

Sites That Link to this Post

  1. In The Mailbox: 04.18.18 : The Other McCain | April 18, 2018
  1. HMCS(FMF) ret says:

    Here’s something I came across about Tammie Jo Shults last night:


    • Thunderstixx says:

      The actual conversation between her and the tower is a study in cool under fire…
      I would bet that she would say that flying that Boeing 737 was still not as high on the list of pucker time incidents as landing an F-18 Hornet on the deck of a pitching carrier in the North Pacific Ocean in a snowstorm with a low fuel light blinking like hell…
      Great job Tammie Jo.

  2. ChipNASA says:

    Amazing skills. She was an aggressor pilot at Top Gun.
    Anyone have any idea what her call sign was?

    /I’d co-pilot her in the BRRRRRRRT

  3. IDC SARC says:



  4. Atkron says:

    Now I finally understand what my wife was always saying about flight suits.

  5. Justin says:

    I think she has earned more respect from fellow Vets than that

  6. 26Limabeans says:

    I read where one passenger complained that there was no announcement from the cockpit as to what was happening.

    • Mason says:

      To make it even worse they cancelled the drink service too!

    • Jay says:

      Sorry snowflake…too busy trying to safely land this big SOB!

    • CCO says:

      Little busy here, trying to save our lives, check back with me later, OK?

      (I’m trying to figure out how that would make sense—seated on the opposite side, way, way in the back, was asleep at first—that someone couldn’t see for themselves what was going on.)

    • Atkron says:

      She was too busy CALMLY talking to the ATC declaring an emergency, and getting an ambulance on standby.

      If you can’t figure out that a catastrophic event just happened when your cabin just depressurized you’ve got bigger issues than waiting to be told what happened.

      BTW, I want EVERYONE to look at the photos taken of the passengers during the event. Pay attention to how they placed the masks on their faces. 90% of them did it wrong…cover your mouth AND nose.

      Take 3 minutes get off your damn phones and pay attention to the FA’s while they do the emergency procedures.

    • 2/17 Air Cav says:

      “Your attention please. This is the captain. It appears that an engine blew up and shredded the wing. Now is a good time to say your prayers. We will die or live, depending on my skills and the integrity of this plane.”

  7. Mason says:

    BZ Captain Shults! Visiting with each passenger after the flight? What a class act.

  8. UpNorth says:

    Well done, Ma’am.

  9. Jay says:

    Fuckin A! Well done Captain!

  10. Slick Goodlin says:

    Was the 737’s co-pilot sucked out too?

    I believe handling a plane during an emergency is a team effort.

  11. Ex-PH2 says:

    The news report last night didn’t give the pilot’s name, only that the pilot was female.

    Kudos to Ms. Shults for her cool head and skills.

  12. A Proud Infidel®™ says:

    A helluva bit of piloting, BZ!

  13. bombstopr says:

    Yes it was a team effort of all 3- the co-pilot, flight engineer, led by the Captain. She ran the response just as Sully did in the incident in NY. Everyone knows his name but not the names of any other crew members. Thats the way it is. All the responsibility was hers and she performed well! Hooyah!!

  14. Mick says:

    A great save; well done.

    Safely landing an aircraft of that size and weight on a single engine is no joke.

    • OldSoldier54 says:

      You’ve got that right! Unbalnced forces like a big dog, loss of lift from a shredded wing.

      Gotta be some outstanding piloting and aircrew work. All while not panicking – because panic kills.

      Very well done Ma’am.

  15. Sparks says:

    “She got legs”

  16. Sparks says:

    You did one hell of a job Ms. Shults and there are people alive to prove it. Well done! Damned well done indeed.

  17. AW1Ed says:

    This is pretty reassuring- the P-8A Poseidon I test is a militarized Boeing 737. Bravo Zulu, Tammie Jo Shults!

    Condolences to the family and friends of the deceased passenger.

  18. Devtun says:

    First preference was the Air Force, but denied – no wimmin pilots. The Navy’s gain.

  19. MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:

    HooYah Smokin’ Hot US Navy Fighter Pilots!

    I heard the entire audio … she was technically and skillfully in total control, cool and confident.

    Aviate, Navigate, Communicate … and Repeat.

  20. borderbill (a NIMBY/BANANA) says:

    “We lost part of the plane–we’re gonna have to slow down a bit.” Sweetjeezusss! Eell Done, Skipper!

  21. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    “Thanks for saving us. Gotta go now and find an attorney so I can sue you, the airline, the engine maker and installer, the window maker and installer and the third party seller I bought the ticket from!”

    • Sparks says:

      Sadly 2/17 Air Cav, that will most likely be the case. Instead of thanking this great pilot, some will be looking for that payday. It’s a shame what some folks will do, even when they have been blessed with their own life.

  22. Sparks says:

    I listened to the cockpit to ATC audio and WOW! What composure and control she maintained. She’s a hero in my book, now and forever. Her copilot as well, since he was working the controls along with her.

  23. LiRight says:

    I would fly with her anywhere! She’s among the best that this country has to offer!

  24. Club Manager, USA ret. says:

    Just a thought but if the passenger who was partially sucked out of the aircraft had her seatbelt buckled, maybe that would have saved her life.

    • bombstopr says:

      How do you know she didn’t?

    • Devtun says:

      Fox News reported Mrs Riordan did have her seat belt buckled.

    • Patricia says:

      It is reported that she was seat belted. Perhaps the seat belt kept her from being completely sucked out of the plane, buying time for her fellow travelers to pull her back in.

  25. Jeff LPH 3, 63-66 says:

    BZ Tammie; Checked out your above pic and what a gorgeous Chick you are.

  26. Jeff LPH 3, 63-66 says:

    Texas Firefighter Rushed to Save Woman in Plane Blast
    A firefighter from Texas is being lauded for his heroic efforts after he helped pull a fellow passenger back inside a plane when she was sucked outside during an emergency landing Tuesday in Philadelphia. According to the Daily Mirror, Celina firefighter Andrew Needum was nearby when debris from the engine explosion on Southwest Airlines flight 1380 ripped a hole in the window where 43-year-old Jennifer Riordan was sitting. Riordan had been sucked outside the aircraft before Needum and another passenger, Tim McGinty, rushed to pull her back inside. “When we saw the window was gone somebody saw the lady out of the window so just tried to get her back in and wasn’t strong enough,” McGinty told reporters afterward. “A fireman from Celina, Texas, jumped in there and helped and between the two of us we were able to get her back in.”
    Related: NTSB: Blown Southwest jet engine showed ‘metal fatigue

  27. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    The hero pilot and Navy Veteran was not a USNA graduate. She attended MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, Kansas, a Christian University. Here’s a current pic of her and her husband, from the school’s website. I guarantee applications for admission there are going up, as of today.


    After she landed the plane, she walked back to check on the passengers and received applause and some hugs. Love these stories.

  28. HMC Ret says:

    Every day we read of the bad, the posin’ pieces of crap and the plain old scum of the earth. Now we have a genuine hero who has nerves of steel and skills out the wahoo. You go, girl, you did damn fine. Blessings for your nerves and skills.

  29. mr. sharkman says:

    Cool as a Jewel. No surprise, such conduct coming from a Naval Aviator and fast jet driver.

    BZ, Tammie Jo Shults.

  30. NHSparky says:

    Mad props to her.

    Nuff said. She’ll probably never buy another drink again, assuming she partakes.

  31. Dustoff says:

    Just for the record, I never, ever had a pilot during my time with Dustoff that looked anything like Miss Shultz in the above photo. All I got was cranky Warrant Officers with bad mustaches.

  32. MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:

    I think I counted 3 tac transfers of pilot and control.

    Each time she was given new freq she repeated it back and said, “G’Day”.

    So slick and cool.

  33. Panda says:

    Well done!