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Opening Arguments


Probably like many of you, I've been fascinated by Flight 1549, which first had an incredible stroke of bad luck, then had so many things go right it could be considered a miracle. The pilot is being called a hero, but I'm not sure that's quite the right description. This gets a little closer:

When both engines failed, Captain Sullenberger found himself in the kind of situation that doesn't arise even on a pilot simulator. At that point, “he found himself in the position of being an experimental test pilot,” says George. So Sullenberger did what all good aviators do (and what glider pilots know best): He kept flying the plane.

Nobody should try to take anything away from Sullenberger and how much he had to do with the way things turned out. But he's not a hero in the usual sense of the word, somebody who goes out of his way to risk his own life in an attempt to save others. He was in a position to benefit equally from his actions, so he acted as much for self-preservation as he did for his passengers.

But he is a hero in the sense that he is someone to look up to and emulate, somebody we should all want to be like when we grow up. He had to make the right decision in a split second, and he did. He was able to do that because he had the training and the experience and the judgment that resulted from learning from both. It's only because there are people like Sullenberger sprinkled here and there throughout our daily lives that our

Posted in: Current Affairs


tim zank
Mon, 01/19/2009 - 11:02am

The mandatory retirement is a crock. I would much rather have a senior pilot like him in times of peril, than a less experienced pilot, wouldn't you?

Bob G.
Mon, 01/19/2009 - 11:25am

ANY day...at ANY altitude, Tim!