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Gneisenau013

Tammie Jo Schults - American hero

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Attention on deck!

On 4/17/18, Southwest Airlines #1380 declared an emergency in mid-air with unconfirmed reports of casualties in the cabin.

The pilot, Tammie Jo Schults, contacted FAA control tower at La Guardia Airport of the situation while struggling to retain control of her Boeing 737-300 aircraft. Unconfirmed reports the aircraft rapidly descended over 20,000 feet in less than 5 minutes and went from 31,000 feet to just under 10,000 feet. Passengers panicked and some even used cell phones to call their loved ones for one last time.

However, the quick thinking pilot, a former naval aviator with VAQ-34 (Navy Electronic Warfare Squadron 34) planned this as she knew cabin pressure equalizes at 10,000 feet and the report of a passenger being suctioned out a porthole window would be abated.

Lt. Cmdr. Schults proceeded to land her aircraft at Philadelphia International Airport safely and without further injury to its passengers and crew. Although one passenger succumbed to their injuries, Lt. Cmdr. Schults limited the damage and injuries as best as she could given the conditions of the emergency. 

Lt. Cmdr. Schults is an American hero and represents the finest traditions of both the US Navy and Naval Aviation.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/18/us/southwest-pilot-tammie-jo-shults.html

#anchorsaweigh

#semperfidelis

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Remaining cool under pressure is a great trait that can't really be taught. Rational thought under extreme pressure is a common factor for heroes.

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1 minute ago, Sovereigndawg said:

Remaining cool under pressure is a great trait that can't really be taught. Rational thought under extreme pressure is a common factor for heroes.

Aye.

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Show of hands: Who else here thinks she'll eventually get a movie like Sully Sullenberger did?

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In which we live in a society where people are celebrated and called heroes for doing their job, doing what they're trained for.

Not to diminish her efforts, she did put that plane down safely, remained cool under pressure, saved all those people, and she is to be commended for it. Not everyone can do that. Not even every pilot can do that. But hero worship is going a bit far.

Pilots aren't trained to flip a switch and let the auto pilot do everything, they're specifically trained to know what to do when things go wrong. And they did. And she knew what to do. Because she was trained to.

<Edit> To clarify, I've always believed that a hero is someone who goes above and beyond what can reasonably be expected of them, like Aitzaz Hasan or Anthony Borges, but they don't get a thread dedicated to them. What Tammie Jo Schults did is a feat, not arguing, but to call her a hero because of it? One would expect a pilot to try and save their plane when something goes wrong with it. Something tells me she doesn't want all this hero worship either ...

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@Lert you are absolutely correct but it is always grand to celebrate those training successes.

If we applied that hero criteria to first responders we would flood the news with celebrations. Instead, our everyday heroes are castigated for mistakes.

I hate I might've derailed this thread... Tammie Jo Schultz is deserving of thus recognition. +1 @Gneisenau013 and thanks!

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1 hour ago, Sovereigndawg said:

Remaining cool under pressure is a great trait that can't really be taught. Rational thought under extreme pressure is a common factor for heroes.

It's called The Right Stuff.  She has it. 

 

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1 hour ago, Sovereigndawg said:

Remaining cool under pressure is a great trait that can't really be taught. Rational thought under extreme pressure is a common factor for heroes.

Not completely but with constant practice of the emergency procedures the odds that the crew will react as they are supposed to are quite good.

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34 minutes ago, BrushWolf said:

Not completely but with constant practice of the emergency procedures the odds that the crew will react as they are supposed to are quite good.

Being an ex fighter pilot and the first woman to fly an F-18 in US history also helps explain how she kept her cool.

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2 hours ago, 1Sherman said:

Show of hands: Who else here thinks she'll eventually get a movie like Sully Sullenberger did?

While there may be a video or two, I don't think this event lends itself to a movie in the same way as the successful landing in the Hudson River did.

I heard tape of the ATC exchanges.  Professional aviators have a standard in decorum under any circumstance.  She exemplified that standard in the exchanges I heard.  There any many similarities in the manner presented in both incidents.

This was a well executed action by a seasoned professional.  She is to be commended for a job well done.

It is an unfortunate event that could have been much worse.  I will be interested in reading the Accident Report when it is complete.

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It's called an emergency descent and it's an approved aircraft maneuver and well within the aircraft's capability- at 31,000ft with the aircraft depressurized due to the hole in the window, the time of useful consciousness is about 1 minute or less.  The actual time of consciousness will depend on the physical conditioning of the person.  But if you're not on oxygen by then, you'll most likely pass out like Payne Stewart when his aircraft slowly depressurized and no one recognized it and the aircraft kept flying until it ran out of fuel and crashed.

Oxygen concentration at 31,000ft is still 21% oxygen / 74% nitrogen like it is on the ground, but the partial pressure at 31,000ft would make it difficult for anyone to breathe as your body relies on a difference in pressure to move air into and out of your lungs.   So even if the passengers would have donned their o2 masks and activated their chemical oxygen generator correctly (unlike the passengers posting their pictures on social media with their O2 masks incorrectly donned), they still wouldn't be able to breathe as the pressure inside the body is greater than the pressure outside the body and all you'll do is just exhale when you try to breathe.

The only way to save the passengers at that point is to descend.   The cabin pressure was already equalized at 31,000ft and not 10,000ft like the news article indicates.  14,000ft is the altitude at which most normal people can breathe normally without supplemental oxygen. 10,000ft is the target you shoot for for the emergency descent if there's no terrain and you believe your aircraft is structurally sound.

The maneuver is simply O2 masks on, seatbelt sign on,  set 10,000ft, thrust idle, speed mode - 350kts, initiate a turn to get off route, speed brakes deployed, verify minimum safe altitude and set the altitude .  The aircraft will be coming down, but it's within the performance envelope of the aircraft.

I agree, she probably doesn't want to called a hero, she simply just did her job.

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Being a hero isn't what one thinks of themselves, it's what the people they helped think of them.

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She did an excellent job! The situation could have a been a whole lot worse, and a lot more lives could have been lost.

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2 hours ago, YeOldeTraveller said:

While there may be a video or two, I don't think this event lends itself to a movie in the same way as the successful landing in the Hudson River did.

The event by itself isn't big enough, but the backstory could be enlarged by Hollywood to huge proportions. "'She fought all that testosterone to become the first woman blah-blah.'  It could be a monster (if we just add a love story)."

Done right, it could be a worthy flick, but what are the odds of that?

 

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5 hours ago, Lert said:

In which we live in a society where people are celebrated and called heroes for doing their job, doing what they're trained for.

Not to diminish her efforts, she did put that plane down safely, remained cool under pressure, saved all those people, and she is to be commended for it. Not everyone can do that. Not even every pilot can do that. But hero worship is going a bit far.

Pilots aren't trained to flip a switch and let the auto pilot do everything, they're specifically trained to know what to do when things go wrong. And they did. And she knew what to do. Because she was trained to.

<Edit> To clarify, I've always believed that a hero is someone who goes above and beyond what can reasonably be expected of them, like Aitzaz Hasan or Anthony Borges, but they don't get a thread dedicated to them. What Tammie Jo Schults did is a feat, not arguing, but to call her a hero because of it? One would expect a pilot to try and save their plane when something goes wrong with it. Something tells me she doesn't want all this hero worship either ...

Excellent post, having been an Army aviator for over 27 years I have to say you hit the nail on the head with this post.  

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2 hours ago, wtfovr said:

It's called an emergency descent and it's an approved aircraft maneuver and well within the aircraft's capability- at 31,000ft with the aircraft depressurized due to the hole in the window, the time of useful consciousness is about 1 minute or less.  The actual time of consciousness will depend on the physical conditioning of the person.  But if you're not on oxygen by then, you'll most likely pass out like Payne Stewart when his aircraft slowly depressurized and no one recognized it and the aircraft kept flying until it ran out of fuel and crashed.

Oxygen concentration at 31,000ft is still 21% oxygen / 74% nitrogen like it is on the ground, but the partial pressure at 31,000ft would make it difficult for anyone to breathe as your body relies on a difference in pressure to move air into and out of your lungs.   So even if the passengers would have donned their o2 masks and activated their chemical oxygen generator correctly (unlike the passengers posting their pictures on social media with their O2 masks incorrectly donned), they still wouldn't be able to breathe as the pressure inside the body is greater than the pressure outside the body and all you'll do is just exhale when you try to breathe.

The only way to save the passengers at that point is to descend.   The cabin pressure was already equalized at 31,000ft and not 10,000ft like the news article indicates.  14,000ft is the altitude at which most normal people can breathe normally without supplemental oxygen. 10,000ft is the target you shoot for for the emergency descent if there's no terrain and you believe your aircraft is structurally sound.

The maneuver is simply O2 masks on, seatbelt sign on,  set 10,000ft, thrust idle, speed mode - 350kts, initiate a turn to get off route, speed brakes deployed, verify minimum safe altitude and set the altitude .  The aircraft will be coming down, but it's within the performance envelope of the aircraft.

I agree, she probably doesn't want to called a hero, she simply just did her job.

don`t want to be a smart [edited],,but human body does not"hold"the pressure without pressure suit. They went thru a rapid de-pressurization ,which in turn can cause decompression sickness ,same as in scuba divers when they ascend too rapidly from depth. Although, the change of pressure in those scenarios(commercial flights)not large enough to cause these symptoms ,,otherwise all passengers would be required to wear pressure suits ,,,for safety reason

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4 hours ago, Lert said:

Being an ex fighter pilot and the first woman to fly an F-18 in US history also helps explain how she kept her cool.

Very much and goes with constant training and why ex military pilots are the best airline pilots because of their training.. She not only had an engine out emergency she double dipped and got rapid decompression.

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1 minute ago, BrushWolf said:

Very much and goes with constant training and why ex military pilots are the best airline pilots because of their training.. She not only had an engine out emergency she double dipped and got rapid decompression.

Don't forget damage to the leading edge of her wing and controls as well. They had to come in rather fast and with flaps at 5 instead of the standard 30~40 for a typical landing on a 737.

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10 hours ago, Sovereigndawg said:

Remaining cool under pressure is a great trait that can't really be taught. Rational thought under extreme pressure is a common factor for heroes.

It's as the old saying goes: We don't rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.”

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A happy ending thanks to the pilot's ability to land on one engine and who knows what other limitations, a hero for all those whose lives were saved, and an example for us all.

Spoiler

(I hate flying, such a coward I prefer to take a bus, train and boat rather than risk airport lounges!)

 

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11 hours ago, Lert said:

In which we live in a society where people are celebrated and called heroes for doing their job, doing what they're trained for.

I agree with Lert here. There are hundreds of pilots and tens of thousands of other professionals who have done what she did and more and who have barely even been noticed for it. To make a big deal out of an expected level of competence in a well-trained pilot just because the pilot is female is actually a form of sexism.

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On 10 June 1990 an improperly installed panel of the windscreen failed, at 17,400 feet (5,300 m), blowing the plane's captain, Tim Lancaster, halfway out of the aircraft. With Lancaster's body firmly pressed against the window frame for over twenty minutes, the first officer managed to perform an emergency landing at Southampton Airport with no loss of life. 

Much to everyone's surprise, Lancaster was found to be alive, and was taken to Southampton General Hospital, where he was found to be suffering from frostbite, bruising and shock, and fractures to his right arm, left thumb and right wrist. Flight attendant Nigel Ogden suffered a dislocated shoulder, frostbitten face and some frostbite damage to his left eye. Everyone else left the aircraft unhurt.

Less than five months after the accident Lancaster was working again.

 

 

  

Edited by Snargfargle

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16 hours ago, iDuckman said:

The event by itself isn't big enough, but the backstory could be enlarged by Hollywood to huge proportions. "'She fought all that testosterone to become the first woman blah-blah.'  It could be a monster (if we just add a love story)."

Done right, it could be a worthy flick, but what are the odds of that?

 

In all honesty, while I think that one can say that both she and Sully performed their professional  duties exceptionally with a cool, calm demeanor, I do think that there's a bit of a difference between the two situations.  I'm not aware that the landing of her plane was spectacularly difficult.  I'm assuming that it was a bit of a challenge, given that her plane had lost an engine.  It just seems to me that Sully's situation was considerably more difficult because, IIRC, the problem occurred during takeoff and the plane was going down, no matter what.  And the only place he had to put it down was in the river.  And while I have no doubt that Sully was every bit as professional and cool and calm as Capt. Schults, it just seems to me that trying to get a plane "landed" on a river without it breaking up, or flipping, or any other kind of thing that would spell disaster has to be a total nightmare scenario for any pilot.  I don't know if this is the sort of thing that they train for in simulators or not.  One hopes so.  

As for whether they're heroes or not, I can appreciate what Lert said on this and think that there's some truth to it.  At the same time, in both of these situations, many lives were at risk, and both captains were responsible for those lives and did their absolute best to get their planes down safely.  I don't think that it's unreasonable for the people on those planes to think of the pilots who got them safely on the ground as "heroes".

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22 hours ago, Khafni said:

Instead, our everyday heroes are castigated for mistakes.

 

Part of what one of my favourite singers ever calls "Dirty Laundry".

 

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