Friday, January 16, 2009

Grace Under Pressure

Chesley Sullenberger, the pilot and captain of the US Airways jet that crashed into the Hudson River, did his job.

He did it well enough, in fact, that 155 people got off of the plane. Alive.

There has been so much reporting over the past two days about the crash of Flight 1549 that anything I say here probably won't matter much. However, in thinking about how much more is written when an aircraft crashes and things go terribly wrong, I didn't think I'd be doing any harm by throwing my two cents in.

The thing that is most notable, at least to me, is not so much that he got the plane down safely. It's that while the passengers and crew were being taken off of the wings by the rescue crews, he checked and re-checked the aircraft to ensure that everyone else got off of the plane before he got off.

That is what the captain of any vessel is supposed to do. His doing this probably doesn't seem like it should be a big deal, and most of the time I wouldn't have given this action a second thought. However, there have been more than a few incidents over the past 20 years or so where there has been an incident at sea and a ship needed to be abandoned that the captain and crew didn't do this - they didn't take care of their passengers and ensure their safety. They thought of themselves first and went their own way, leaving those in their care to be on their own, in some cases to be claimed by the sea. In my view, doing this is cowardice.....

It just made me feel really good to hear that he did this last thing before he got off of the plane. And it tells me that this man has character above and beyond what most of us would expect.

Bravo Zulu, Captain Sullenberger.


Elizabeth said...

He really is a hero, isn't he ?

Willingly risking his own life in order to make sure that all the others survived.

What a truly great man. I wish there were more like him.....

Laura said...

There are still men in this country. Without a doubt we can look up to this man. In our town, 60 men fought a fire, that sent Southbridge personnel to the hospital. Frozen lines, below zero temperatures and muti-story older buildings with many displaced people. (Mostly children). We often hear about the cowards, it is refreshing to hear about the everyday heros. Good post.