U.S. pilot recalls landing plane after mid-air explosion

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"My first thoughts were actually, "Oh, here we go" - just because it seemed like a flashback to some of the Navy flying that we had done", said Shults, who was among the first female fighter pilots in the USA military.

While they had difficulty communicating at some points due to noise caused by an engine failure, neither doubted the flight would land safely.

The full 20/20 interview will air at 10 p.m. tonight on 6ABC. Others started streaming live on Facebook.

Shults said she wasn't supposed to be on the flight.

Her colleague, First Officer Darren Ellisor, said: "We were passing through about 32,000 feet when we heard a large bang and a rapid decompression". "Was there some of that fear?"

The 56-year-old US Navy veteran's husband Dean, also a Southwest pilot, was originally supposed to be the captain on Flight 1380 from NY to Dallas that day.

As for the swapping of shifts, Shults says she won't be doing that again: "I traded for the trip with my husband".

"I'm not trading with him anymore", Shults said.

"The aircraft yawed and banked to the left, a little over 40 degrees, and we had a very severe vibration from the number one engine that was shaking everything".

Once on solid ground, Shults and Ellisor, who'd flown together for the first time only the day before, didn't discuss what happened; instead, they had to make sure everyone was OK. While they each had training they could rely on, the amount of noise that followed the engine failure made communication hard.

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Shults and Ellisor had split piloting duties throughout the flight.

Those on board the flight that day are calling Shults a "hero" for her calm demeanor during chaos. "And.it was just hard to communicate for a lot of different reasons". "I mean, because it's not something that we've ever had happen before, and you know, nearly certainly won't happen again because the chances are just too astronomical".

The pilots donned oxygen masks and after the safe landing, Shults greeted passengers personally as they filed out.

The pilots have been praised, including in a White House visit with President Donald Trump, for bringing the plane under control and averting a far worse outcome.

"As long as you have altitude and ideas, you're okay". "And we had both".

"Tammie Jo, she did a fantastic job, considering the condition of the aircraft and the situation it was. (Shults) made a great landing".

Shults' husband Dean, a fellow pilot for the airline, was initially scheduled because the captain on April 17, nevertheless Dean supplied to do one other flight as a substitute so she'd be capable of go to her son's monitor meet, Shults stated throughout an upcoming interview with ABC Information. The pair didn't want to speak out straight away as the Riordan family was in mourning but they said they received support from her husband.

However, there was one passenger who did not survive. The passenger who was killed was identified as Jennifer Riordan, 43.

Click for more from the New York Post.

The NTSB sent a team to Philadelphia to investigate the crash.

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