Pilot. Author. Inspirational Speaker.
Captain Shults is a former Southwest Airlines pilot and the captain of the crippled Southwest 1380 flight, which made an emergency landing in Philadelphia after an unexpected engine failure and rapid depressurization. This year, 2020, marked the end of Captain Shults’ incredible journey with Southwest Airlines. She took her final commercial flight in September of 2020, a moment she regards, “was bittersweet." Captain Shults became an aircraft carrier qualified naval aviator and earned her wings at Naval Air Station Beeville, Texas. She then served as a flight instructor in the T-2 Buckeye before going on to fly as an electronic aggressor pilot in the A-7 Corsair and then the F/A-18 Hornet. She was one of the first females qualified to fly the Hornet. Captain Shults also holds a split degree in PreMed and Agribusiness from MidAmerica Nazarene.
Although her chapter as a commercial pilot came to a close in August of 2020, Captain Shults continues to fly privately, serve as volunteer pilot, and has assumed the role, alongside her husband, Dean, as board members of the nonprofit organizations, Angel Flight, South Central and the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum in Honolulu, Hawaii. Tammie Jo also serves on the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation Board and the Women in Aviation Advisory Board to the FAA.
Captain Shults’ incredible and uplifting novel, Nerves of Steel, tells the story of her tireless pursuit of becoming a pilot and the challenges she faced along the way, including safely landing the severely crippled Southwest Airline Flight 1380. Through her experiences, Captain Shults teaches readers how to face challenges with grace, cultivate strong habits, and turn adversity into strength.
In 2020, Captain Shults committed herself to joining a network of pilots dedicated to volunteering for the nonprofit organization, Angel Flight. The organization arranges free, non-emergency air travel for children and adults with serious medical conditions and other compelling needs. Captain Shults will serve among many other honorable pilots who donate their aircraft, piloting skills, and flying costs to help families in need. To learn more about Angel Flight or get involved, visit Angel Flight’s website at the link below.
Women in Aviation Advisory Board
Women are significantly underrepresented in aviation. Congress created the Women in Aviation Advisory Board (WIAAB) to develop independent recommendations and strategies for the Federal Aviation Administration to encourage female students and women to pursue careers in aviation. Part of the Board’s task is to examine trends that directly or indirectly encourage or discourage women from pursuing aviation careers. To assist the Board in understanding industry trends, the Board seeks input about the industry and career opportunities from women who are not working in aviation. Your responses are greatly appreciated! Your responses will be anonymous. A summary of the de-identified, aggregated results will be shared with the WIAAB.
For questions, contact, Dr. Becky Lutte: Associate Professor, University of Nebraska at Omaha Aviation Institute, firstname.lastname@example.org
International Air & Space Hall of Fame
Captain Shults was inducted into the International Air & Space Hall of Fame during a very special virtual gala on December 10, 2020. This distinguished honor was bestowed upon Captain Shults for her groundbreaking influence in aviation and her pioneering spirit. We congratulate Captain Shults for this incredible achievement! To read the full story, click on the link below.
Boerne Book & Arts Festival
Follow along with the Boerne Book & Arts Festival as Captain Shults leads a fascinating discussion with three authors, James Fenelon, James Hornfischer, and Alex Kershaw, who write on the subject of World War II.
Women in Aviation Advisory Board
We are proud to announce Captain Shults’ apointal as a member of the Women In Aviation Advisory Board! Women in Aviation seeks to develop and provide independent recommendations and strategies to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to explore opportunities for encouraging and supporting female students and aviators to pursue a career in aviation. Through the organization and its initiatives, Captain Shults hopes to inspire young women on their path to becoming aviators. She is honored to be aligned with this incredible organization and looks forward to forging new opportunities for young women, much like herself, who dreamed of a career in aviation. To learn more about Women in Aviation and their work, please click on the link below.
SHOP NERVES OF STEEL
Nerves of Steel is the captivating true story of Tammie Jo Shults’ remarkable life—from growing up the daughter of humble ranchers, 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.
'It is not often that one has the opportunity to be a hero and even more seldom does that opportunity come along twice. Tammie Jo Shults's inspirational story is one of service, grit, and humbling endurance in the face of discrimination and visceral danger. Her persistence paved the way for countless pilots to follow, and against all odds her composure saved the lives of 148 people on that Southwest flight. I feel honored to know her and to have read her story and am excited that others get the chance to see what true courage looks like.'
'Nerves of Steel is truly one of the most inspiring, beautifully written, and important books of my lifetime. I am an avid reader, but Tammie Jo's story resonated with me like no other. She is a champion for not only women but for all who want to be better, stronger, and more loving human beings. Her story and life lessons should be read by everyone. She is a model of faith, ferocity, and femininity. Despite her unique and extraordinary story, Nerves of Steel is so relatable--I felt I was by Tammie Jo's side marveling and cheering her on through every twist and turn of her life. And what a life she has had. I will tell everyone I know about this book. Must-read should be shouted from the rooftops.'
'Tammie Jo Shults is one gutsy woman who didn't let the glass ceiling in a man's world keep her from shattering it and pursuing her own dream. As a pilot for almost fifty years, I am inspired and blessed to know her and her family. This riveting story profiles a remarkable lady with a sure destination and nerves of steel.'
'Most people know Tammie Jo Shults from her landing of Southwest Airlines Flight 1380. But it was quieter moments that defined her--from the work ethic she learned growing up on her family's farm to overcoming financial adversity and gender discrimination. In this deeply personal account of her life story, Tammie Jo shows us how the nerves of steel that helped her safely land the damaged aircraft had been forged from lessons learned during seasons of turbulence in her life. Tammie Jo is living proof that the real mark of heroes is not the feats they achieve but their capacity for hope, resiliency, and caring for others. Her story will certainly resonate with women who have had to swim upstream in fields traditionally dominated by men, but the lessons of perseverance she learned along the way will inspire anyone who is facing bumps on the road to achieving their own dreams.'
'Captain Tammie Jo Shults is a hometown hero to South Texans. More than that, Tammie Jo is a hero of faith. Her nerves of steel were forged in learning to trust God in all seasons--through times of turbulence and periods of testing--and to keep Him in the center of her life. In Nerves of Steel, she reminds us that life's challenges and the choices we make equip us to face anything with confidence and that we don't face them alone.'
'Tammie Jo Shults is a hero in every sense of the word, shown not only through her leadership and skill during the compound emergencies of Southwest Flight 1380 but with all she has accomplished during an incredible career. Tammie Jo is, however, more than a hero: she is a role model to young and old, in her community and across the country. She has an inspiring life story to tell, one that crosses decades of accomplishments while overcoming serious obstacles--ultimately leading to triumph in faith, family, and flight. Nerves of Steel gives us the real Tammie Jo and lets us understand what a truly amazing person she is in all aspects of life. It has been my distinct honor and privilege to have flown with Tammie Jo and become close personal friends. Anyone looking for inspiration, courage, and heroics will find them in this book.'
Captain Darren Ellisor
'Southwest Flight 1380 might have been the first time many of us heard the name Tammie Jo Shults, but it won't be the last. From a life of service to God, her family, and others--which includes navigating the rigors of the military--Tammie Jo has continually modeled how hard work and sacrifice become the building blocks of a life well-lived. Don't miss this rich, inspiring story of overcoming challenges that by their nature prepare us for what's ahead. It's proof positive that when we do what God calls us to do, He will provide the nerves of steel we need to do it.'