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Heroic Southwest Pilot Among First Female Fighter Pilots in Navy

TammiJoShults

Heroic Southwest Pilot Among First Female Fighter Pilots in Navy

By Debbie Gregory.
The Southwest pilot who is being called a hero for landing a crippled Southwest plane was
among the first female fighter pilots to serve in the U.S. Navy.
“We can confirm that Lt. Commander Shults was among the first cohort of women pilots to
transition to tactical aircraft,” the Navy said in a statement.
On April 17th, Tammie Jo Shults was piloting the twin-engine Boeing 737 toward cruising
altitude, generally considered the safest part of a flight, when one of the aircraft's engines blew.
Flying at an altitude of 32,000 feet, shrapnel from the crippled engine smashed a window.
Passenger Jennifer Riordan was partially sucked out of the plane as fellow passengers scrambled
to pull her back in. Unfortunately Riordan died from blunt impact trauma of the head, neck and
torso. Seven other passengers were sent to the hospital with minor injuries.
Her voice remained calm as she communicated with air traffic control in Philadelphia.
"We have a part of the aircraft missing, so we're going to need to slow down a bit," Shults said
from the cockpit. Later, she adds, "They said there's a hole and … and, uh, someone went out."

Shults made an emergency landing in Philadelphia. Passengers praised how Shults skillfully
landed the plane, and said that she greeted each passenger after they were safely on the ground.
“This is a true American hero,” Diana McBride Self, a passenger, wrote in a Facebook post. “A
huge thank you for her knowledge, guidance and bravery in a traumatic situation. God bless her
and all the crew.”gh the plane personally to check on us after she landed our crippled airplane. …
We were truly all in amazing hands."
Passenger Alfred Tumlinson said Shults displayed "nerves of steel."
Shults lives outside San Antonio and is married pilot Dean M. Shults.

Air Force Officials Warn of Fighter Pilot Shortage

fighter

By Debbie Gregory.

Several Air Force officials have reported that the U.S. Air Force is facing a shortage of more than 1,000 fighter pilots.

The acute shortage of fighter pilots could grow even worse, with nearly a third of all jobs becoming vacant in the coming years, senior service officials said.

Lieutenant General James Holmes, the deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and requirements for the Air Force, said only about four experienced fighter pilots are being produced each year. Retention is also a major issue.

The current goal is to try to retain as many pilots as possible in the short term, but there is a lot of completion from commercial airlines who are hiring thousands of fighter pilots.

Air Force Secretary Deborah James is looking to Congress for the ability to boost financial incentives to recruit and keep pilots. She and Gen. David L. Goldfein, the service’s new top officer, attributed the shortfall to a wave of hiring in the commercial airline industry, high demand for air power keeping pilots deployed and away from their families, and a reduction in training while at home prompted by heavy usage and budget constraints.

James and Goldfein said they want to improve pilots’ quality of life and their military service conditions, including training and housing.

The Air Force currently can pay pilots an extra $25,000 per year after they complete their initial service contract, which concludes 10 years from the completion of pilot training, a number that has not been changed in 17 years. The Air Force has proposed an increase to $48,000 per year, and a proposal in the House would boost the figure to $60,000.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Do We Have A Fighter Pilot Shortage?

shortage

By Debbie Gregory.

Several Air Force officials have reported that the U.S. Air Force is facing a shortage of more than 500 fighter pilots. The divide is expected to widen to more than 800 by 2022.

The shortage stems from a reduction in the number of active duty fighter squadrons.

In a written statement, Air Force officials stated that “without these fighter pilots, the Air Force will be very challenged to continue to provide the air supremacy upon which all our other forces depend.,” The statement said the shortage would affect air operations expertise and lead to a “gradual erosion of fighter pilot experience in test and training.”

Lieutenant General James Holmes, the deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and requirements for the Air Force, said only about four experienced fighter pilots are being produced each year.

In the early ‘90s, the Air Force had 100+ squadrons, compared to the current 54.

Holmes said to make up the deficit, the Air Force would likely put new active duty pilots into guard and reserve squadrons to gain experience.

“But ultimately we’re going to have to increase production and we’re going to have to increase absorption so we can fix the problem,” he said.

The current goal is to try to retain as many pilots as possible in the short term, but there is a lot of completion from commercial airlines who are hiring thousands of fighter pilots.

There is also a shortage of drone operators. In Capitol Hill testimony, Gen. Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle said that the Air Force needs approximately 200 more drone pilots in order to adequately carry out current missions. He added that the “remote piloted aircraft enterprise is one that’s in high demand, we are in high demand for fighters as well, we don’t have enough of either.”

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.