Becoming a pilot is not only about undergoing vigorous technical training and obtaining certifications, but more importantly, taking care of the safety aspect of flying, and courses of actions during emergency.
At times, emergency happens which demand actions that follow the hunch of the pilot rather than instructions from the ground control.
All decisions must be taken sooner than later, and actions must be done through composed execution and in calmly manner. One single mistake can cost the lives of hundreds of passengers.
A pilot who steered a distressed commercial plane for an emergency landing on a river has been hailed as the New York’s latest hero.
2 days ago, a US Airways aircraft which just took off from New York’s LaGuardia airport, lost power in both of its engines after allegedly running into a flock of birds. The plane was on its way to Charlotte, North Carolina.
The first pilot, Chesley Sullenberger, found himself torn into two different actions – flying back the plane to the airport, or crash land the aircraft. The ground control initially asked him to steer the plane back to LaGuardia, and later instructed for a diversion to another airport nearby.
With little time left, Sullenberger, who did not have time to put on a life jacket, found himself losing the communication with the control center, and all of a sudden all the 155 passengers’ lives were now depending on him to made an emergency landing – on a river.
While steering the plane into a river, Sullenberger told the passengers to ‘brace for impact’ and the next thing they know, there was a large splash, with the aircraft sent trembling. . All the passengers were rescued safely. One flight crew broke a leg, but the rest only suffered minor injuries.
In the last 3 years, 3 planes made emergency landing on the same river but resulted in deaths of hundreds of passengers. The latest one is considered a miracle by many.
Sullenberger is due to receive a gold-plated key by the Mayor of New York. An anonymous person even volunteered to donate $10,000 in building a statue in remembrance of Sullenberger’s heroic maneuver. Sullenberger, 75, who is a former pilot for the US Air Force, is yet to make public appearance as investigation is still going on to determine the exact course of the plane’s engine failure.