Madeline Tompkins

From Academic Kids

Madeline Tompkins (born c. 1962) is a airline pilot who gained international fame on April 28, 1988, after landing Aloha Airlines flight 243 safely, after facing a near disaster.

A native of Florida, Mimi, as she is known to family, friends and colleagues, was the first woman to work as a pilot for Aloha. She worked on DHC-6 otters and later on, on Aloha's biggest airplanes, the Boeing 737s.

Flight 243 took off normally from Hilo's airport on what would have been a twenty eight minute flight to Honolulu (during that era, Aloha was only an inter-state airline). Soon after the flight began, the cabin of the airplane, which was nineteen years old, showed a crack on the roof. Cabin depressurasion caused the crack, which expanded, eventually taking off about half of the cabin's roof on the airplane that Tompkins was flying. This caused much distress; one flight attendant died, all 84 passengers were injured (seven critically), and Madeline made several calls to Honolulu International Airport to declare an emergency. With the plane's controls damaged, the Honolulu tower did not hear the messages. They were, however, picked up by the closest airport, Kona Airport.

Since the 737 carried its fuel on the wing area, Madeline was not able to dump fuel before the landing. To add to her plight, the airliners' landing gears were not responding, and the right engine failed. The landing gears, however, later would work, helping the airplane to land.

Madeline and her co-pilot were able to land the plane safely, even as they could look up and see the blue skies from their seats, as described later on by her co-pilot that day.

According to the movie, Miracle Landing, which chronicles the oddysey of Tompkins, her crew and passengers on that day, she still works for Aloha. Since the name of Aloha Airlines itself was not mentioned during the movie (Paradise Airlines was used instead), the movie read, at the end of it Mimi Tompkins still works for the airline portrayed here. It shall be pointed out, however, that such information might be outdated, since the movie was released in 1990.

Reports of a passenger named Madeline Tompkins dying at the American flight 587 in New York City in 2001 surfaced. But because Tompkins had a more private life after this incident, no indication of this passenger being the famous pilot ever surfaced.


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