Sunday, 18 January 2009

Chesley Sullenberger, Captain Fantastic


A Big Big storey in media this week, that had me absolutely riveted to the news channels was the emergency landing of airwat flight 1549 in New York’s Hudson river. To put it into perspective, if you Google the search term “Flight 1549” it already comes up with 704 000 results, the incident only occurred on Thursday.

The word miracle has featured in many of the headlines, and although airline pilots are highly trained to deal with the unlikely event of this sort of thing happening, it takes a very special individual to do what Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger did.

A partner in AdventureEscapades.co.za Gary, is a qualified pilot and is the first to say that no amount tribute will ever be sufficient for aviations newest and improbable hero. I say improbable as he has completely shyed away from the media, and from the photo above, he looks like the ordinary sort who lives next door with his wife and two children.

Passengers interviewed, spoke of how Captain Fantastic once having got the plane down, then had the presence of mind to take charge of the safety and evacuation procedures. One testimonial I found particularly moving, was from a somewhat emotional man who praised Sullenberger as the reason his daughters still have a father.

How calm under pressure would one have to be, to bring an airliner plane down safely on water, especially in a city with tall skyscrapers on a river thats also a shipping port? There were a 150 passengers onboard and 5 crew members who all survived with the only notable injury being to a flight attendant who underwent surgery for two fractured tibias.

Taken from Wikipedia: By landing successfully on water, the captain "achieved one of the rarest and most technically challenging feats in commercial aviation," said The Wall Street Journal. A board member of the NTSB stated that it "has to go down [as] the most successful ditching in aviation history."

For a simulated pilot's eye view of what happened, CLICK HERE. Photo: sully (aka rockstar) was uploaded by jennnster on www.flickr.com

1 comment:

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