The other day something remarkable happened, it was how it was done and by the person who did it.
A plane going from New York to Texas lost an engine, well not really lost; the damn thing blew up, exploded, went where it was not suppose too. A large part of the engine was found 60 miles north of Philadelphia, the rest of it came down with the plane. The plane, an older model Boeing 737, was cruising at 30,000 plus feet when the engine blew apart, it broke a window and opened a gash in the fuselage.
A woman seated next to the window or very near was sucked part way out of the plane, another passenger immediately grabbed her and with the help of a couple of others were able to pull her back into the plane. According to the reports several other passengers had minor injuries.
During all this the pilot, a US Navy veteran, had her hands full, you read right I said her, Tammie Jo Shults. She was the first woman to qualify to fly the F/A18 in the US Navy and qualify as a Top Gun pilot, but being a woman she could not be a Top Gun flyer, but she could be a trainer, because women were not allowed to fly in combat. She trained our finest Navy aviators. During her own training she landed planes on the decks of aircraft carriers pitching and rolling on the sea. She learned to fly, as they say, by seat of her pants. The F/A18s were not fly by wire as most planes are today, these lessons came in handy when her Boeing 737 lost its engine.
Older Boeing 737s are not computer controlled as they are today. So when the engine blew she had to use the yoke to fly her aircraft. The first thing she had to do was get that plane down from 30,000 feet to 10,000 just to equalize the pressure between the inside and outside of the plane, that took about 10 minutes. During the next 10 minutes she brought the plane in for a landing with only one engine and she could not use either the flaps in full extension or the reverse thrust on the good engine. So she was coming in, as they say, hot. Without the flaps and reverse thrust she landed her plane praying the whole while that the tires would not blow or the brakes overheated and failed. After landing she went into the cabin and calmly talked with the passengers. Now that is one remarkable lady.
Now the most remarkable part of this story is how the media told the story, they had it down just like I have above but more graphic. But it was how they gushed all over her and said how cool and calm she was. How she must have had nerves of steel. The only thing they left out was that she, being a woman, she did not get all emotional and hysterical about the whole thing. She was cool and knew what to do. Her hormones did not get in the way as the media thought they would. “No”, she was trained to do this job, hours and hours behind the stick of a military plane, and many more hours training Navy aviators without letting her hormones get in the way. This lady is a real professional.
I just hope and pray that our vision of women starts to change, as to allow women the full measure and equality that men have had for generations. One thing about the military, women and men receive the same pay for the same work, same grade, and time in service. We talk about equal opportunity in employment but most of it is just talk. Until we get serious about it, nothing will change. As long as employers forbid employees to discuss wages and salaries the problem will continue to exist. The employer is the greatest stumbling block to progress, let us bring this discussion out of the back rooms and into the light. Women deserve to be treated better than that.