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How Veteran Fighter Pilot Tammie Jo Shults Saved Crippled Southwest Flight 1380


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OK, The USAF completely screwed up on this one. We said no to her being a pilot and she got an offer from the Navy and became the first female to fly Top Gun.

You just have to read this whole story. What a pilot!


"Capt. ‘Sully’ Sullenberger could rely on automated help to pull off the ‘Miracle on the Hudson.’ Ex-fighter pilot Tammie Jo Shults saved hundreds of lives all on her own.

For any pilot in this situation the most difficult and urgent thing to judge is how responsive the airplane is to their commands. An airplane as crippled as this one becomes difficult to handle. With only one engine working and damage to the other causing unusual air drag, the pilot must correct for asymmetrical power and drag—the airplane naturally tends to swing away from its direct course.

Here it is striking to compare Captain Shults’ plight with that of Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger in his legendary “miracle on the Hudson” landing. Sullenberger lost both engines to a bird strike, but his airplane, the Airbus A320, had “fly-by-wire” controls that gave him an automatic safety margin by restricting the control movements to a computer-dictated “envelope.” In contrast, the flight controls of the Southwest 737, although monitored through computers, remain as they were in the analog age, with the pilot controlling directly through a “yoke.”

And this is where Captain Shults’ background came into play. She is an ex-Navy pilot and one of the first women to fly the “Top Gun” F-18 Hornet, eventually becoming an instructor. Landing supersonic jets on the decks of aircraft carriers is one of the most demanding skills in military aviation. Now, flying on the one engine called for her to use all of her “seat of the pants” instincts to nurse the jet to the runway."

Great read here:


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20 hours ago, pjstough said:

She did her job as any competent pilot would be expected to do.  Nothing spectacular about it.

I wish every airline pilot could have gone through the training and experience this lady did by having the drive and determination to become a military fighter pilot. Now that is truly spectacular!

I would hope that all airline pilots would have the temperament and skills to calmly land the plane in an emergency like this recent one. 

However I really doubt some of the newer pilots have the skills to so gracefully bring the plane in.

I really question just how many "competent pilots" there are these days.  Especially in younger pilots w/o military flying experience.   Just going through the commercial pilot training (even as extensive as it is with the number of flight hours required) I doubt gives you really great emergency skills.  It takes $$$ and time to train people.  It is just a business decision on how much an airline is willing to spend on training for something is highly unlikely to happen.  While I am sure all pilots are run through loosing an engine in a flight simulator at some point in time, I would be surprised if there is a requirement to do the training every 6 months or every year.  It just takes too much money to do it.  

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The one thing they all have in common regardless of where they finished in their class standing is "They all want to go home to their families at the end of the day"  I agree with Paul she did her job.  She did it very well but in the end she did what she gets paid to do.  Nice Job Captain Shultz.


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Taking nothing away from the fine job done by Captain Shults, she had over 30,000 ft. of altitude, 30 minutes of glide time and the remaining good engine was enough to fly with indefinitely.  After she verified she had working control of the aircraft, the rush to land the plane stemmed from her concern for the injured passengers, not some pressing flight requirement.

Sullenberger had 3000 ft. of altitude, no momentum or power and about 3 minutes flying time remaining once the engines quit.  His choices were to try an unprecedented ditching in the Hudson River, try to circle back to La Guardia or possibly go on to the Teterboro, NJ airport approx. 5  miles ahead.   Turns out neither of these last two were possible and a wrong choice would have sent a plane full of people and fuel crashing into an urban area.

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