Southwest pilot hailed a hero : 'We were simply doing our jobs'

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An engine explosion blew out a window, and the woman was almost sucked entirely out of the plane.

Shults has now joined a club no pilot wants to be a part of, along side Sully Sullenberger, who landed safely in the Hudson after losing both engines in 2009. Here's passenger Joe Marcus speaking on MSNBC.

"It sounds just like a normal conversation with her on the phone", Thompson said. "We've got injured passengers", Shults told a flight controller.

LEWIS: Well, you know, it's still very early.

When it was all over, the pilot came out of the cabin and hugged everyone, telling them, "You all did a great job". There's a lot to study.

But the controller quickly got back on task: "Southwest 1380, doesn't matter - we'll work it out".

At the same time, the pilots needed to communicate with air-traffic control to decide where to land and with flight attendants to gauge the damage to the plane. "You did a very good job", passenger Amy Serafini said.

Shults later asked for medical personnel to meet the plane on the runway to help injured passengers.

CHANG: So how does this fit in with what else is known at this point?

After leveling the plane, the pilots would have dealt with the engine failure or fire by reducing the thrust to idle. And investigators say it was because of metal fatigue. "My brother says she's the best pilot he knows". The airline, in a statement, said it would conduct ultrasonic inspections of fan blades in the CFM56 engine used in the 737-700. How do pilots handle something like this?

"I'm impressed that in this emergency that they thought about controllability", he said. And you can often sort of hear it here.

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HERO Tammie Jo Shults on the left.

The AP reported, Shults maintained a cool, calm demeanor as she communicated with air traffic control about the emergency, as can be heard through the released audio recording.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Your passengers are OK. "And are you - is your airplane physically on fire?"

"We have part of the aircraft missing ..."

"She was an extreme go-getter, and all of the gentlemen, you know, at first the woman in a man's world is a little hard, but she put on those big boots, and she went out, and she overachieved", Parsons said.

LEWIS: Yeah. I mean, she really is. And sometimes, she said, Shults brings her son to help because kids need more one-on-one instruction.

While Shults is being hailed as a hero for safely landing the plane with 144 passengers and five crew members, her friend told ABC News that her concern is with the family of Jennifer Riordan, the sole person killed during the incident. "They behaved in a manner that their training would prepare them for".

LEWIS: Well, the captain we're learning more about. Turns out, Tammie Jo Shults is a committed Christian who loves sharing her faith. You can't believe how calm she was.

"The pilot was a veteran of the Navy", Farnan told CNN.

Captain Shults learnt to fly as one of the first female fighter pilots in the US Navy three decades ago, piloting the F/A-18 Hornet in an era when women were barred from combat missions. She attained the rank of Navy lieutenant commander before she retired from service in 1993. Shults went onto state that she chose to enroll at MidAmerica Nazarene University, in Olathe, Kansas, because it had a good pre-med program and she was interested in veterinary medicine but her desire to fly didn't waver.

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