WOMEN
04/19/2018 06:57 pm ET Updated Apr 20, 2018

Southwest's Tammie Jo Shults Joins The Legacy of Badass Female Pilots

The pilot who calmly landed a stricken airliner this week is one of many women who have owned the skies.

Tammie Jo Shults, the pilot who safely landed a stricken Southwest Airlines flight on Tuesday, is getting justifiably praised for the coolheaded way she handled herself during the emergency.

The 56-year-old Shults, one of the first female fighter pilots in the U.S. Navy, calmly told air traffic control that part of her plane was missing and she would need ambulances on the runway.

“So we have a part of the aircraft missing, so we’re going to need to slow down a bit,” Shults told a controller.

One passenger died of blunt impact trauma to her head, neck and torso after an engine explosion caused a window to break. The aircraft, en route from New York City to Dallas, landed safely in Philadephia, though, and many of the passengers who’d been aboard later sang Shults’ praises on social media.

But while Shults did an outstanding job of landing a depressurized plane, it’s not like she’s the only incredible female pilot.

As the gallery below shows, she is one of many female aviators who’ve made important strides in both the air and on land. 

  • 1 1992
    Navy Lt. Tammie Jo Shults, who is now a Southwest Airlines pilot, in front of a Navy F/A-18A in this 1992 photo. She is credi
    Thomas P Milne/U.S. Navy via Reuters
    Navy Lt. Tammie Jo Shults, who is now a Southwest Airlines pilot, in front of a Navy F/A-18A in this 1992 photo. She is credited with calmly landing a disabled passenger plane in Philadelphia on April 17, 2018.
  • 2 2017
    Capt. Stephanie Johnson, left, and 1st Officer Dawn Cook end Black History Month and usher in Women’s Hi
    Capt. Stephanie Johnson, left, and 1st Officer Dawn Cook end Black History Month and usher in Women’s History Month as they become the first African-American women to make up the flight crew on a "mainline" Delta flight.
  • 3 2016
    1st Lt. Kayla Bowers, a 74th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron A-10 Thunderbolt II pilot, looks out of the cockpit of her aircra
    Staff Sgt. Joe W. McFadden/U.S. Air Force
    1st Lt. Kayla Bowers, a 74th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron A-10 Thunderbolt II pilot, looks out of the cockpit of her aircraft during the squadron'€™s deployment in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve at Graf Ignatievo, Bulgaria, March 18, 2016. Operation Atlantic Resolve is a demonstration of the United States'€™ continued commitment to the collective security of NATO.
  • 4 2014
    1st Lt. Meaghan Cosand, C-5B Galaxy pilot with the 312th Airlift Squadron, starts engines in preparation for takeoff from Kad
    Lt. Col. Robert Couse-Baker/U.S. Air Force
    1st Lt. Meaghan Cosand, C-5B Galaxy pilot with the 312th Airlift Squadron, starts engines in preparation for takeoff from Kadena Air Base, Japan. She was flying a mobility channel mission, moving high-priority cargo and passengers among air bases in the U.S. Pacific Command.
  • 5 2010
    Betty Wall Strohfus, a former pilot in the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), sings the national anthem during the Co
    Staff Sgt. J.G. Buzanowski/U.S. Air Force
    Betty Wall Strohfus, a former pilot in the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), sings the national anthem during the Congressional Gold Medal ceremony at the Capitol on March 10, 2010. The WASP program, established during World War II, trained women to fly noncombat missions.
  • 6 2007
    Phetogo Molawa, a 21-year-old air force lieutenant stands next to the big Oryx Air Force transport helicopter at the third Wo
    AFP via Getty Images
    Phetogo Molawa, a 21-year-old air force lieutenant stands next to the big Oryx Air Force transport helicopter at the third Women's Conference in Defence in Canturion, South Africa. Molawa is South Africa's first black female pilot.
  • 7 2006
    Emilie Denis, the first woman fighter pilot of the French navy in Toulon, France, in front of her Rafale.
    Xavier Rossi via Getty Images
    Emilie Denis, the first woman fighter pilot of the French navy in Toulon, France, in front of her Rafale.
  • 8 2000
    Brigitte Joubert, one of the only women qualified to pilot rescue helicopters over land and sea in Biarritz, France.
    Xavier ROSSI via Getty Images
    Brigitte Joubert, one of the only women qualified to pilot rescue helicopters over land and sea in Biarritz, France.
  • 9 2000
    Aysh Gammo, the first Libyan woman airline pilot, gets ready for a flight in Tripoli, Libya.
    Reza via Getty Images
    Aysh Gammo, the first Libyan woman airline pilot, gets ready for a flight in Tripoli, Libya.
  • 10 1999
    Flight Lt. Joanne Mein, flanked by colleagues of the Royal Australian Air Force's elite aerobatics display team, the Roulette
    Getty Images
    Flight Lt. Joanne Mein, flanked by colleagues of the Royal Australian Air Force's elite aerobatics display team, the Roulettes, rolls her plane during a formation flight over Gippsland, Australia.
  • 11 1999
    Lt. Caroline Aigle, France's first woman fighter pilot, in Tours, France.
    Daniel SIMON via Getty Images
    Lt. Caroline Aigle, France's first woman fighter pilot, in Tours, France.
  • 12 1999
    Adine Ossebi, 30, the first and only female pilot for Air Afrique, in the cockpit of a plane at the Abidjan airport in Ivory
    ISSOUF SANOGO via Getty Images
    Adine Ossebi, 30, the first and only female pilot for Air Afrique, in the cockpit of a plane at the Abidjan airport in Ivory Coast.
  • 13 1995
    The Royal Air Force's first woman strike-attack combat pilot, Jo Salter, waves from the cockpit of a Tornado GR1B after landi
    GERALD PENNY via Getty Images
    The Royal Air Force's first woman strike-attack combat pilot, Jo Salter, waves from the cockpit of a Tornado GR1B after landing at Lossiemouth, Scotland.
  • 14 1993
    Barbara Harmer, the first female Concorde pilot.
    Patrick Durand via Getty Images
    Barbara Harmer, the first female Concorde pilot.
  • 15 1977
    Lt. (J.G.) Mary Louise Jorgensen was the first woman tactical jet pilot to be assigned to Miramar Naval Air Station at San Di
    Bettmann via Getty Images
    Lt. (J.G.) Mary Louise Jorgensen was the first woman tactical jet pilot to be assigned to Miramar Naval Air Station at San Diego.
  • 16 1976
    Ann Bostock, 26, the first woman to pilot scheduled services for a British airline, sits in the cockpit of a BAC 111 on July
    Central Press via Getty Images
    Ann Bostock, 26, the first woman to pilot scheduled services for a British airline, sits in the cockpit of a BAC 111 on July 7, 1976.
  • 17 1974
    Sally D. Murphy, 25, at the controls of the UH-1 'Huey' helicopter, is recognized in the U.S. Army as its first woman aviator
    Bettmann via Getty Images
    Sally D. Murphy, 25, at the controls of the UH-1 'Huey' helicopter, is recognized in the U.S. Army as its first woman aviator and also its first military helicopter pilot.
  • 18 1973
    In a Pentagon ceremony, Lt. Judith Ann Neuffer of Wooster, Ohio, was presented with flight training orders by Navy Secretary
    Bettmann via Getty Images
    In a Pentagon ceremony, Lt. Judith Ann Neuffer of Wooster, Ohio, was presented with flight training orders by Navy Secretary John Warner, making her the first military pilot in U.S. history on Jan. 10, 1973.
  • 19 1963
    Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman to have flown in space, on June 1, 1963.
    Keystone-France via Getty Images
    Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman to have flown in space, on June 1, 1963.
  • 20 1962
    American Jacqueline Cochran, shown here about 1962, learned to fly at age 22, and it became a lifetime passion.
    Getty Images
    American Jacqueline Cochran, shown here about 1962, learned to fly at age 22, and it became a lifetime passion.
  • 21 1944
    1st Officer Maureen Dunlop of the ATA (British Air Transport Auxiliary) in the cockpit of a Fairey Barracuda torpedo bomber.
    Leonard McCombe via Getty Images
    1st Officer Maureen Dunlop of the ATA (British Air Transport Auxiliary) in the cockpit of a Fairey Barracuda torpedo bomber.
  • 22 1942
    Alice Rhonie, one of the first WAF (Women in the Air Force) pilots to arrive at their East Coast air base on Sep. 23, 19
    Bettmann via Getty Images
    Alice Rhonie, one of the first WAF (Women in the Air Force) pilots to arrive at their East Coast air base on Sep. 23, 1942.
  • 23 1942
    The new WAFs, dressed in flying suits and helmets, at flight training on Sept. 23, 1942.
    Bettmann via Getty Images
    The new WAFs, dressed in flying suits and helmets, at flight training on Sept. 23, 1942.
  • 24 1941
    Valentina Grizodubova was among the first of thousands of Russian women who volunteered when Moscow was threatened on Oc
    Planet News Archive via Getty Images
    Valentina Grizodubova was among the first of thousands of Russian women who volunteered when Moscow was threatened on Oct. 26, 1941.
  • 25 1940
    Pauline Gower, one of the pool of British women pilots who ferrried new aircraft from the factory to the aerodrome on Jan. 10
    Topical Press Agency via Getty Images
    Pauline Gower, one of the pool of British women pilots who ferrried new aircraft from the factory to the aerodrome on Jan. 10, 1940. She established the women's branch of the Air Transport Auxiliary during World War II.
  • 26 1939
    Pilots on the Russian front during World War II, circa 1939.
    Roger Viollet via Getty Images
    Pilots on the Russian front during World War II, circa 1939.
  • 27 1938
    Elisabeth Lion, French aviator, in May 1938. 
    adoc-photos via Getty Images
    Elisabeth Lion, French aviator, in May 1938. 
  • 28 1936
    British pilot Beryl Markham, at Abingdon Aerodrome, Berkshire, prior to takeoff for a solo flight across the Atlantic on
    Bettmann via Getty Images
    British pilot Beryl Markham, at Abingdon Aerodrome, Berkshire, prior to takeoff for a solo flight across the Atlantic on Sep. 11, 1936.
  • 29 1935
    Helen Richey, who became the first woman to be employed as a pilot of a U.S. airline, on Nov. 7, 1935.
    George Rinhart via Getty Images
    Helen Richey, who became the first woman to be employed as a pilot of a U.S. airline, on Nov. 7, 1935.
  • 30 Circa 1935
    American actress and amateur pilot Madge Evans, circa 1935.
    FPG via Getty Images
    American actress and amateur pilot Madge Evans, circa 1935.
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