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This pilot saved 100+ passengers after her plane's engine failed

For a lot of people, flying can be an uncomfortable experience. Space is tight, you're breathing recycled air for hours at a time and don't even get us started on the food...

But those minor inconveniences were not atop the list of worries for passengers on a Southwest Airlines flight on Tuesday. Not long into a their trek from New York City to Dallas on flight 1380, one of the plane's engine's exploded. Debris sprayed everywhere, causing a window to break and a passenger to be partially sucked out of the plane before her fellow passengers were able to pull her back inside. 

Unfortunately, the passenger—a New Mexico-based executive at Wells Fargo—later died at the hospital. Seven other pasengers were injured.

In any situation, the loss of an innocent life is truly tragic. But the light we're finding in the darkness of this tragedy? The pilot that kept calm in the face of intense chaos.

Capt. Tammie Jo Shults piloted Southwest flight 1380 and was able to divert the plane's path and make an emergency langing at Philadelphia International Airport, landing her 100+ passengers to safety.

But once you learn about the skilled pilot, it's not hard to imagine how her past experiences prepared her for this moment. Shults is a former fighter pilot who was among the first female fighter pilots for the U.S. Navy, reports The Washington Post.

As you can imagine, Shults had to fight quite a bit of sexism to get where she is today. During high school, she was the only female in attendance at an aviation lecture and the teacher—a retired colonel—asked if she was lost.

“I mustered up the courage to assure him I was not and that I was interested in flying,” she wrote in the book Military Fly Moms by Linda Maloney. “He allowed me to stay but assured me there were no professional women pilots.”

Little did he know that one day there would be, and that Shults would become a hero to many. 

One passenger on Sunday's scary flight said that she had "nerves of steel," while another commented that they would be sending her a Christmas card and a gift certificate for getting them to the ground safely. She certainly deserves it!

The takeaway from this? As school finals loom and the stress presses in on you, keep the determined, trail-blazing and cool-as-cucumber Tammie Jo Shults in mind. If you need us, we'll be printing photos of her and plastering them around our office for major #lifeinspo.

Photo credit: Washington Post

by Sydney Adamson | 4/18/2018
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