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Emergency Radio Commumications of SW Captain with ATC

Yesterday’s following radio communication between the Southwest Airlines Captain, a former Navy fighter aircraft pilot, Tammie Jo Shults, and ATC, reveals her calm demeanor – – – and also clearly shows her skilled handling of the serious emergency.  The 7:26 long audio clip also exhibits the professionalism of the Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) who handled things equally well from the ground.

The audio has been condensed but includes all currently available ATC transmissions to and from Southwest (SWA 1380)  from the time the Mrs. Shults declared the emergency to the time she safely brought the ship to a stop at Philadelphia.

Not only was the 56 year old Captain Shults calm during the entire crisis, but notice how her voice sounds as though she were conducting a normal flight, one without any kind of emergency, let alone one so severe.

The quality of these sequential audio feeds varies significantly due to distance between transmitters, A/D converters, interference, receivers, bandwidth, bitrate, compression, digital artifacts, dither, and other typical variables.

Tammie Jo Shults by F-18 Fighter – Click photo for story

Shults calmly flew Southwest Flight 1380 to safety after part of its left (Number 1) engine exploded and then part of its nacelle (container pod) ripped off, damaging a window and nearly sucking a woman, who was the sole fatality, out of the plane. The flight was en route to Dallas Love airport from New York City.   Captain Shults quickly chose to make the emergency landing in PhiladelphiaWith the help of her co-pilot and the rest of the crew, she turned what could have been a complete loss of life for all aboard, into a relatively safe conclusion.

           Current photo of  Capt. Shults

The NTSB reported the one fatality out of 143 passengers on board. The woman who died has been identified as Jennifer Riordan, 43, of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

After safely landing at Philadelphia, Captain Shults stopped to personally console each passenger as they left the aircraft.

Shults was piloting the Boeing 737 when, at 32,000 feet, shrapnel from the exploding engine smashed out a window. She immediately put the airliner into a rapid descent, making the safe emergency landing. Aside from the one fatality, seven passengers had minor injuries. Thankful passengers immediately began posting on social media after their plane landed, declaring that Shults, her co-pilot/1st Officer, a USAF veteran, Daren Ellison, and the rest of the crew were heroes. On Instagram, @abourman wrote, “Our engine blew out at 38000 (it was actually 32,000) ft. A window blew out, a man saved us all as he jumped to cover the window. … The pilot, Tammy Jo was so amazing! She landed us safely in Philly.”

Photo of destroyed left engine on SWA Flight 1380

Captain Shults grew up on a ranch near Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, where watching air shows and living under one of the air base’s flight paths, helped inspire her to join the Navy as one of its first female fighter aircraft pilots. She first tried to fly for the USAF, but at that time the Air Force wasn’t interested in recruiting women pilots.  She wrote about her Navy career in the book, “Military Fly Momsby Linda Maloney, in 2012.  Her husband, Dean, is also a pilot for Southwest and was a former Fighter Pilot.  The flying couple have two children, a teenage boy and a girl in her 20’s.


AF & USN Demonstration Teams Fly Together at Pensacola

And the Blue Angels “Swap Paint.”

Thanks to “Fighter Sweep” we have this following news story about the two U.S. military aviation demonstration teams’ exhibition over NAS Pensacola, Florida, home of the Navy’s principal Flight Training Station. See the below 1:11 long video.  You may ask, “what’s it mean to swap paint?”  The video explains.

And why were the Thunderbirds joining up with the Blue Angels?  It was the 71st Birthday for the Blue Angels, and the USAF Team crashed their party.  They hadn’t done this since 2002. But it was a friendly exchange of not just greetings and airborne teamwork, but also of ideas and mutually similar experiences in the crowd thrilling exhibition business.  For the “younger” Thunderbirds, it was their 70th birthday.  This video is 1:53 long.

Air Force and Navy Flight Demonstration Teams join for group portrait at Pensacola, FL in celebration of the Blue Angels’ 71st Birthday.

Earlier, here below, is a USAF KC-135 Tanker refueling the Navy’s Blue Angels exhibition team in mid-flight.  This clip is 1:01 long,  and shows some beautiful footage of the refueling action as it takes place.  One of our more active FASF members, Col. Alan Fisher, accumulated many hours flying this same tanker during his USAF career.


Visually Step Back into the Chaotic Skies Over Europe in WWI

Thanks to our modern era’s radical revolution in the digital photographic sciences – and a group of extraordinarily talented aircraft replica builders, pilots, – – – and videographers, the Down Under folks of  New Zealand’s HISTORICAL AVIATION FILM UNIT (HAFU) have enabled all of us to step right back in time, letting us witness what our ancestors of that Great War era saw – and heard – with their own eyes and ears.

With the explicit permission from Allan Udy (Videographer and Editor with HAFU), to use their exclusive and copyrighted creative material, we are able to share some of these outstanding video experiences with you. If you would like to see more of these WWI videos, please let us know, so we can include more of them in future posts.

If you take the time to visit and explore both their website and fascinating collection of their historical video creations and other photographic art, you’ll not be disappointed.

The following initial video Trailer (part I of II) introduces you to some of the more famous WWI fighter aircraft that cavorted about the bloody skies over France, Belgium and Germany during that “War to End All Wars.”  It is only 3:59 long, but packed with impressive action AND SOUND.

So make sure to watch these films full screen and with your sound turned up.  How HAFU gives its viewers such accurate aircraft engine and wind sounds is a trade secret, but it has memorable effects.  These two videos are but Trailers or peeks at their full length video collection, which you can purchase directly from HAFU.

Mr. Udy just brought to our attention that it is important to mention that the aircraft are built (in many cases), maintained and operated by The Vintage Aviator Ltd (TVAL) from New Zealand.   “At HAFU we’re just the ‘hangers-on’ that get to film these beautiful machines.”  So, our apologies to Allan if we conveyed the impression that HAFU also built and piloted these brilliant replications.

You might be inclined to think that the small nation of New Zealand, so far away in the South Pacific, couldn’t possibly lead the world in the number of WWI era flying aircraft replicas, but you would be wrong.  New Zealand has clearly earned her laurels for having this unique distinction.

Most of us may never have the pleasure of visiting this colorful and hospitable country, but as aviation and aviation history buffs, in particular, we can at least witness these impressive videos from Down Under.  The video below this is the part II Trailer of the HAFU Fighter group.  It is 4:12 in length.


QUESTIONS ? ? ?   (You can reply by simply writing your answers in the “Leave a Reply” field or box down below.)  Will you be the first to get the right answer(s)?

  1. What is a rotary engine?
  2. Why do some of these fighter’s engines cut on and off, often sputtering, rather than simply increasing or decreasing their speeds as do most and all modern aircraft engines?
  3. Why are the Fighter pilots looking at the camera on the close ups of them flying close by?
  4. Where is the vertical fin – and rudder – on some of the Fighters, the ones with the rounded rear vertical airfoil?
  5. Why was the famous “Red Baron’s” Fokker Triplane painted bright red and not camouflaged?  (Among the six or more Triplanes seen in the videos, only one is painted his color.)

Coast to Coast Bicyclists Stop Again to Learn About the FAS

Saint Patrick’s Day in Columbus saw the annual arrival of the Coast 2 Coast Bicycling group, which are under the direction of Bubba Barron. Here they pack the Camp Furlong Recreation Hall to hear Ric Lambart describe what took place in Columbus 102 years ago as American Air Power was born – – – and American Civil Aviation was reborn.

Ric describing how the Jenny Flight Controls worked in the first group of JN-2 Jennies.  Lt. Ira Rader is sitting in the Jenny seen on the screen and is using the old banking control system, prior to the First Aero’s adoption of the superior French developed Deperdussin system – the system still in use today.

The audience audibly gasped as they saw archival movie footage showing one of the female Barnstorming era daredevils doing stunts atop a Jenny’s wing – – – all accomplished without a parachute.

As usual, after the program’s conclusion, there were many questions to be answered by our presenter.

The 60 some odd bicycle enthusiasts take about two months to bicycle from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic. These hearty peddlers have established a new tradition of stopping on each of their Coast to Coast journey’s to take in the special charm of Columbus, NM – and to absorb its unique and significant place in American History.

The above three photos are still shots taken from the FASF video that was made of the event.

Here’s a shot of two of the Coast 2 Coast Peddlers stopping for a break.

Trustees Meet with Army Sergeants Major Academy Staff

The new U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy Historian, Dr. Everett Dague, from Kansas, and the Academy’s NCO Heritage and Education Center’s History Specialist, Leigh E. Smith, and his wife, Gretta, had lunch today at FASF Business Supporter, Ivonne Romero’s (scroll down the page at link to read about Ivonne and her renown establishment) famous Pink Store in Palomas, Mexico.

Their hosts for this visit were FASF Trustees Dr. Kathleen Martin, FASF Treasurer, Alma Villezcas, and Trustee Ric Lambart, all seen in the below photo.  The manager of New Mexico’s esteemed Pancho Villa State Park and Director of its renown Exhibit Hall, John Read, and his wife, Elle, both long time members of the FASF, also took part in welcoming both Dr. Dague, and the Smiths to both Columbus and its sister city, Palomas, Mexico.

Both Dr. Dague and Leigh Smith regularly conduct “Army Staff Rides” from El Paso’s Fort Bliss to Columbus for the purpose of teaching Army combat history to their students from the Army’s Sergeants Major Academy.  Today’s gathering was to help both Mr. Smith and Dr. Dague become better acquainted with Columbus, NM, and some of the people who work with its unique history, which resulted from it being the launching place of the famous response to Pancho Villa’s raid on the town in 1916, and the resulting “Punitive Expedition,” which was launched by order of then President Woodrow Wilson.

The VIP visitors from Fort Bliss gifted the FASF with some special items of historical significance regarding the Army’s Sergeants Major Academy and about the Non-Commissioned Officer’s training – – – and of their significant role in making the history of the Army itself.

      Remember: To see any of the FASF Site’s photographs in High Resolution, simply click on them.

L to R above: Alma Villezcas, John Read, Elle Read, Gretta Smith, Leigh Smith, Dr. Kathleen Martin, Dr. Everett Dague, and Ric Lambart. The above photo is courtesy of the Pink Store!

After the lunch at the Pink Store, John Read demonstated his new video camera equipped drone (see below photos) with which he plans to make new aerial views of the historic FAS 1916-17 Airfield.  He launched his drone from the main East West Runway of the airfield.

Above, John Read, flies his drone aloft with his remote control instrument panel.  The view down the runway is East towards El Paso, TX

The drone’s quiet four rotor blades swiftly lifted the device so high above the runway that we lost sight of it altogether.  Here it is returning by its own internal GPS guidance system.

Dr. Bouilly Discovers Rare Photo Of Twin Jenny at Columbus

                                                                             Twin Jenny at Columbus 1916

The above photo was recently located by the now retired and once very active Chief Historian for the U.S. Army’s Sergeant Major’s Academy located at Fort Bliss, in El Paso, Texas, Dr. Robert Bouilly, who has, over the years, kindly provided a number of rare and fascinating historic photos and other information about the First Aero squadron’s experiences at Columbus during the Punitive Expedition.  That Punitive Expedition is something about which Dr. Bouilly likely knows more than any other living professional Historian.

The photo is in the New Mexico Archives in Sante Fe, NM, and is part of the Palace of the governors Photo Archive.  One of the FASF’s own advisors, Dr. Roger Miller, remains the foremost expert on matters pertaining to the First Aero’s operations during that expedition.  His excellent and colorfully written Memorial Booklet to this event, A Preliminary to War, can be found right here, on this website.  Simply click on the preceding link to read the story.

Dr. Bouilly presenting his lecture, yesterday, at Columbus’ Pancho Villa State Park. He explained the little known incident of a number of Chinese Miners, along some who had helped General Pershing in Mexico, both groups of which were placed in a Refugee camp at Columbus, literally rescued by the greateful Pershing.

Here below are some other photos of this very rare twin-engined adaptation of the famous JN-4 Jenny.  Only a few of these unique airplanes were constructed.  They were tested in Columbus by the First Aero Squadron’s pilots, but found to be wanting in performance to such and extent that they were rejected, in terms of having any future with the U. S. Army.

                                        JN-4 Jenny converted into a twin-engined reconnaissance airplane.

These photos will give you a clear idea of what was done to the successful JN-4 in order to make it a twin-engined aircraft.  basically, you will notice that the engine and its cowling in front of the airplane was removed and replaced by another cockpit, one which was designed for either an observer of an aerial machine gunner.  The ship’s power was then derived from the placement on each lower wing, on either side of the fuselage, of the additional two engines.

 Another photo of the Twin Jenny. This conversion shows the old R-2 type of vertical fin at the rear.  It also has a completely different propeller style than does the photo immediately above.  The larger Rudder was installed in order to provide better lateral control in case of an engine failure while in flight.

                                   Another view of the Twin Jenny secured to an engine test platform.

This rare photo is thanks to the aviation Blog writer, Kurt Wheaton, who’s grandfather, Ivan, flew Jennys before and after WWI. Mr. Wheaton inherited hundreds of photos taken by His grandfather.  The ship to the far right above, is the rare Curtiss single-seat “Scout.”  To its rear, (L), between the two Curtiss ships, is the ubiquitous JN-4, itself, and the one behind it is the “Twin Jenny.” Later, during WWII Curtiss built a number “Scout” aircraft, but, while they bore the same name as the rare machiner above, they were totally differnt and modern military aircraft.

Colonel Jimmy Lee Speaks to Daedalian Flight 24 in El Paso

Lt. Colonel James K. “Jimmy” Lee, Jr., Professor of Military Science and Commander of the University of Texas (UTEP) Army ROTC’s “Fighting Miner Battalion” in El Paso, Texas, gave a special Power Point and Video presentation  to the Daedalian Flight 24 at the El Paso Club in downtown El Paso, yesterday.  Almost every member of Daedalian Flight 24 is also an active member of the FASF. 

Colonel Lee gave an animated description of the current University ROTC program which he directs at UTEP.  Jimmy, an Army Mustang and recipient of the coveted SILVER STAR medal for heroism in battle, has been one the FASF’s Trustees for the past three years.  His background is here on the FASF Trustee Page of this site.

Each semester at UTEP, Colonel Lee’s Battalian of Cadets conducts a “Staff Ride” over to visit and study the Army’s history, including that of the First Aero Squadron’s involvement in the “Punitive Expedition” back in 1916 and 1917, at Columbus, NM, the birthplace of American Air Power and rebirth place of American Civil Aviation.

              Remember to click on any of the following photos to see them in high definition.

                                                    Colonel Lee opening his Power Point Presentation.

L to R: All taking in Jimmy’s talk, are: Mario Campos, Charlie Overstreet, Lt. Commander Cindy Sweeney, Roger Springstead, Norm Rice and Virg Hemphill.

            Jimmy describes the many and diverse opportunies for scholarships provided by the ROTC programs.

The Colonel shows some of examples of both Air and watercraft used by the U.S. Army in today’s combat.

Slide Jimmy presented showing the surprising use of both aircraft and boats by today’s Army as related to those assets used by the other services.

         Jimmy fielding questions from the Daedalians about the previous Army Comparative Equipment Chart.

In answer to a question from Daedalian Colonel PittJimmy explained the battelfield circumstances that led to the award of his Silver Star medal in Iraq.

L to R: Listening to Jimmy’s presentation are: Larry Spradlin, Pete Brandon, and Alan Fisher.

                                                      Jimmy fielding more questions from the Daedalians.

Retired USAF Colonel Alan Fisher, who once commanded the AFROTC unit at New Mexico State University, comparing notes after the presentation with Colonel Lee. Daedalian Fight Captain, Roger Nichols a retired USAF Navigator and Pilot is behind the podium between the two experienced ROTC commanders.

L to R: Posing after the event are: Colonel Bob Pitt, Simon Hernandez (Assistant to Colonel Lee, and the UTEP ROTC Recruiting and Scholarship Chief), Jimmy Lee, Roger Nichols and Ric Lambart.  Group photo courtesy of Daedalian and 1st Aero member, Roger Springstead. All above but Mr. Hernandez are active FASF members.