United States

Fellow Pilot Praises ‘Hero' Southwest Pilot for a Job Well Done

Wednesday night, the crew of Southwest flight #1380 issued a statement saying their "hearts are heavy" and they are appreciate the "outpouring of support".

Captain Tammie Jo Shults was a former Navy fighter pilot. The Houston Chronicle reports First Officer Darren Ellisor was in the Air Force before joining Southwest.

On the recording between the cockpit and air traffic control, Capt. Shults sounded calm as she described the emergency.

"At first when I heard it I said that's a Navy pilot," said former Navy pilot and Southwest Airlines captain Don Brumbaugh. "That's exactly the way I would expect her to respond."

Shults was one of the first U.S. military fighter pilots. Brumbaugh said the military prepares pilots to be cool under pressure.

"Navy training pushes you to the edge of the airplane's envelope," explained Brumbaugh. "So no matter what happens, you have to be able to recover that airplane."

Brumbaugh points out, while oxygen masks drop for passengers in the back of the plane, the pilots have to multi-task and reach to get theirs on while determining best course of action to land the plane.

"It sits down by your left hand and prior to each flight in the morning, you take it out of there, put it on your face, and adjust it to make sure it works right," said Brumbaugh. In 28-years flying for Southwest, Brumbaugh said he never had to use his mask.

Brumbaugh said pilots don't just train to land during emergencies, they also train their voices to sound calm during chaotic situations. He said Shults certainly did.

"I think she did a good job," Brumbaugh said

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