Aloha Airlines Flight 243 pilot describes what happened when roof tore off plane

It’s been 26 years since the roof of Aloha Airlines Flight 243 ripped off. On Friday, one of the pilots who helped land the plane at Kahului Airport spoke about the experience.

Mimi Tompkins was the flight’s co-pilot. At a safety conference, she described the moment a portion of the plane’s fuselage tore off.

“I was flying the airplane, I was leveling off at 24,000 feet and then it felt like I had been kicked in the chest,” she said.

Tompkins said all the training she went through kicked in that day.

“Those 10 or 12 seconds my body continued to fly the airplane, but I don’t have much conscious memories of those seconds,” she said. “Then, when I did start to register what was going on around me, I heard my first flight instructor’s words, which were ‘Fly the airplane, fly the airplane.’”

Tompkins gained international fame after a television movie, “Miracle Landing,” was made about the incident.

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