Tammie Jo Shults

Tammie Jo Shults

Former Naval Aviator, Pilot, and Author

"Never let an offense get in the way of a great opportunity." - Tammie Jo Shults

Social Media

About Tammie Jo Shults

Tammie Jo Shults is a retired commercial airline captain, author, and former naval aviator. Known for being one of the first female fighter pilots to serve in the United States Navy, following active duty she became a pilot for Southwest Airlines. On April 17, 2018, as captain of Southwest Airlines Flight 1380, Shults safely landed a Boeing 737-700, saving 148 passengers, after the aircraft suffered an uncontained engine failure with debris causing rapid decompression of the aircraft. She retired from Southwest Airlines in 2020.

Speakers Reel

Speaking Topics

  • Leadership
  • Overcoming Adversity
Captain Shults’ message resonates throughout the corporate culture and beyond. As Captain Shults notes, “to those who are given much, much will be required.” Indeed, on April 17, 2018, much was required of Captain Shults when she safely landed the severely crippled Southwest Airlines flight 1380 and helped save the lives of 148 individuals. But what created the calm confidence and nerves of steel to lead her crew and passengers to safety? Through her captivating story as one of the first female Navy F/A-18 fighter pilots to her successful career in aviation at Southwest Airlines, Captain Shults demonstrates the building blocks necessary for successful leadership — fierce determination, teamwork, and the cultivation of strong habits. “Habits on a good day” Shults instills, “become instinct on a bad day. Habits when you are not under pressure become a reaction when in crisis.” It was through these habits and her unwavering persistence that Tammie Jo was able to manage such a crisis under severe pressure.  Captain Shults brings a combination of her military training with the skills learned from her professional aviation career to business and faith based communities. For each event, Tammie Jo comes prepared to impart her life experience and the lessons acquired along the way to set your organization’s vision soaring.
Captain Shults has faced many challenges. From being recognized as a serious candidate for the military as a female to becoming a flight instructor, she often faced many closed doors. Yet, through her journey, Tammie Jo learned to discern when “no” was an answer and when it was an opinion. Growing up in rural New Mexico, Tammie Jo learned to “dream without fences;” and indeed, Tammie Jo knew there was a boundless sky waiting for her to take flight. Despite the resistance and adversity she faced along the way, Tammie Jo was determined to pursue her dream of becoming a pilot — a dream that would place her in the right place at the right time.  “My dream of flying was only the starting pistol that launched me down the path of my life,” Captain Shults notes. “It was the race that lay before me, the years of hard work without any guarantee of success, that put me in the right place at the right time.” Through her story, Captain Shults demonstrates to organizations how to transform adversity into strength, and strength into the courage necessary to take action.
Captain Shults’ message resonates throughout the corporate culture and beyond. As Captain Shults notes, “to those who are given much, much will be required.” Indeed, on April 17, 2018, much was required of Captain Shults when she safely landed the severely crippled Southwest Airlines flight 1380 and helped save the lives of 148 individuals. But what created the calm confidence and nerves of steel to lead her crew and passengers to safety? Through her captivating story as one of the first female Navy F/A-18 fighter pilots to her successful career in aviation at Southwest Airlines, Captain Shults demonstrates the building blocks necessary for successful leadership — fierce determination, teamwork, and the cultivation of strong habits. “Habits on a good day” Shults instills, “become instinct on a bad day. Habits when you are not under pressure become a reaction when in crisis.” It was through these habits and her unwavering persistence that Tammie Jo was able to manage such a crisis under severe pressure.  Captain Shults brings a combination of her military training with the skills learned from her professional aviation career to business and faith based communities. For each event, Tammie Jo comes prepared to impart her life experience and the lessons acquired along the way to set your organization’s vision soaring.
Captain Shults has faced many challenges. From being recognized as a serious candidate for the military as a female to becoming a flight instructor, she often faced many closed doors. Yet, through her journey, Tammie Jo learned to discern when “no” was an answer and when it was an opinion. Growing up in rural New Mexico, Tammie Jo learned to “dream without fences;” and indeed, Tammie Jo knew there was a boundless sky waiting for her to take flight. Despite the resistance and adversity she faced along the way, Tammie Jo was determined to pursue her dream of becoming a pilot — a dream that would place her in the right place at the right time.  “My dream of flying was only the starting pistol that launched me down the path of my life,” Captain Shults notes. “It was the race that lay before me, the years of hard work without any guarantee of success, that put me in the right place at the right time.” Through her story, Captain Shults demonstrates to organizations how to transform adversity into strength, and strength into the courage necessary to take action.

Press & News

Press Videos

Works by Tammie Jo Shults

NERVES OF STEELE

NERVES OF STEEL

Nerves of Steel is the captivating true story of Tammie Jo Shults’s remarkable life—from growing up the daughter of a humble rancher, to breaking through gender barriers as one of the Navy’s first female F/A-18 Hornet pilots, to safely landing the severely crippled Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 and helping save the lives of 148 people.

Tammie Jo Shults has spent her entire life loving the skies. Though the odds were against her, she became one of the few female fighter pilots in the Navy. In 1994, after serving her country honorably for eight years, Tammie Jo left the Navy and joined Southwest Airlines in the early 1990’s.

On April 17, 2018, Tammie Jo was called to service once again. Twenty minutes into a routine domestic flight, Captain Shults was faced with the unthinkable—a catastrophic engine failure in the Boeing 737 caused an explosion that punctured hydraulic lines and severed fuel lines, tearing away sections of the plane, puncturing a window, and taking a woman’s life. Captain Shults and her first officer, Darren Ellisor, struggled to stabilize the aircraft.

Drawing deeply from her well of experience, Tammie Jo was able to wrestle the severely damaged 737 safely to the ground. Not originally scheduled for that flight, there is no doubt God had prepared her and placed her right where she needed to be that day.