Home' Heliweb Magazine : Heliweb Magazine December 2014 Contents 16 heliweb.com
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practices, simulator training, and Crew Resource Management
(CRM) has made the airlines and corporate aviation one of the
safest modes of travel in the world.
Even then, it has been the dedication of the individual airman
to learn, apply, and teach others what they have learned, which
has made the difference. Fortunately, aviation has always been
blessed with dedicated professionals.
The Consummate Professionals
Captain Sullenberger’s dedication to aviation started early. He
was a private pilot in high school. He graduated from the Air
Force Academy, and for five years, flew as an F-4 Phantom pilot,
flight leader, and training officer, including participating as Blue
Force Mission Commander in Red Flag Exercises, the Air Force’s
equivalent of the Navy’s Top Gun School. He holds an ATP in
both single and multi-engine aircraft as well as a fixed wing
and glider CFI rating. He has been a turbojet flight engineer
and a certified ground instructor. He has also worked as an
accident investigation member for the National Transportation
Safety Board, a NASA Aviation Research Consultant, and has
trained hundreds of US Airways crew members in CRM.
“ The Miracle on the Hudson”
In public statements and interviews, Captain Sullenberger
has been quick to give full credit to his entire crew. He knew
his crew was equally experienced. The first officer, at 48, was
the youngest of the crew, and had amassed over 15,000
hours of flight time. The flight attendants all had 25 plus years
experience each. Those few minutes-from bird impact, to
wet ditching, to rescue-may have been the most dynamic in
their professional lives. They didn’t have time to create a plan.
Their training took over. They did it instinctively. They were
confident that they knew what to do, and it showed. The
passengers followed the crew’s direction and helped save their
own lives and the lives of their fellow passengers. Without that
preparedness by all the crew members, this accident could
have easily gone in a different direction. For the insurance
company, the cost could have easily risen from tens of millions
to hundreds of millions of dollars.
Regardless of whether we fly fixed or rotor wing, we all have
one thing in common-we never want to be confronted with
a situation we are not prepared to handle. Sometimes that
requires us to exercise our superior judgment to avoid the
situation, requiring our superior airmanship. Sometimes,
like the crew on Flight 1549, we are unlucky. Either way, the
cheapest insurance we can buy is our knowledge and training.
If in doubt, ask the US Airways management, their insurance
providers, and the 155 people on board US Airways Flight 1549
whether they thought the crew training was worth the time,
effort, and expense.
In other words, we train to save time, money, assets, and more
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