Experts and Friends of Pilot Praise Performance and Character

FamilyHudson RiverUS AirwaysChesley B. Sullenberger III

The flight crew hadseconds to make a decision, and there was more than one option to choosefrom.  Listen to one expert's insightand a local man who was shocked to find out just who was flying that plane.

"On a day like todaywhen you're in the clouds and something like this happens all bets are off,"says John Nance, a long-time aviation expert.

When a flock of geeseran into and shut down the engines of US Airways Flight 1549, the crew madea split second decision to land their plane loaded with 150 passengers in NewYork City's Hudson River.

Long-time AviationSpecialist John Nance says this was a crew that remembered it's training andexecuted it perfectly --despite a tough decision to stop short of the closestairport.

"The extraordinarything here was not that they ditched the plane successfully and the story ofbirds striking two engines which is very rare, but at a critical point theymade extraordinary choice to not try and make it to the nearest airport, but toput it in the water which they knew would be successful."

"The captain is a oldfriend of mine!" says Mike Oswald, a flight instructor at Galvin FlyingServices in Seattle. We reached him by phone. "I couldn't believe it! I know Sully well!"

Oswald says he wasstunned when he heard just who was flying that plane: Captain SullySullenberger, a long-time buddy, and Oswald says, the perfect guy for anextreme situation.

"In a way I'm reallyglad it was Sully, because he's a very competent man, very competent," saysOswald. "He's got a matter of moments to think of everything."

"The first thing is topush plane into over glide, now what about power?" Nance starts off, runningdown what a pilot in an emergency like this might have to do. "This is not thetime to mess around and the third critical decision is where to put this planedown? That's where people can go very, very wrong and that's where I think thisteam did a marvelous job."

Remember: it was a safelanding, on a strip of water, surrounded by wall-to-wall buildings and people,and a river filled with boats. Nance says pilots typically try to make it toland, but in this case, landing in the Hudson River was the right choice tosave lives.

"What we had was good,good judgment."

"I would have to say aphenomenal fella," says Oswald "was flying an airplane who followed histraining."

 

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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