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Captains Sullenberger & Haynes

Old 02-21-2009, 12:58 PM
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Default Captains Sullenberger & Haynes

Below is an e-mail forwarded to me that speaks for itself.

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USAPA Special Update: Flight 1549
February 13, 2009

Fellow Pilots,
The following article written by Captain Sullenberger will appear in next week's issue of Newsweek.

All I Wanted Was to Talk to My Family, and Get Some Dry Socks
One month ago, I landed Flight 1549 safely in the Hudson River. In some ways, that was the easy part.

Capt. Chesley B. Sullenberger III
NEWSWEEK

From the magazine issue dated Feb 23, 2009
The night of the accident, after we'd safely accounted for all 155 people on the airplane, left the hospital, finally reached the hotel—the pilots' union and the NYPD whisking us away—I remember thinking that my needs were very simple. I'd lost all my belongings; I'd had the most harrowing three minutes of my life. All I really wanted was to talk to my family, and get some dry socks.
It's been a month since the airplane I piloted, US Airways Flight 1549, made an emergency landing in the Hudson River.
Since then, the attention given to me and my crew—I'm trying to resist, somewhat unsuccessfully, everyone's attempt to make this about fewer than five people—has obviously been immense. But I still don't think of myself as a celebrity. It's been a difficult adjustment, initially because of the "hero" mantle that was pushed in my direction. I felt for a long time that that wasn't an appropriate word. As my wife, Lorrie, pointed out on "60 Minutes," a hero is someone who decides to run into a burning building. This was different—this was a situation that was thrust upon us. I didn't choose to do what I did. That was why initially I decided that if someone offered me the gift of their thankfulness, I should accept it gratefully—but then not take it on as my own.
As time went by, though, I was better able to put everything in perspective and realize how this event had touched people's lives, how ready they were for good news, how much they wanted to feel hopeful again. Partly it's because this occurred as the U.S. presidency was changing hands. We've had a worldwide economic downturn, and people were confused, fearful and just so ready for good news. They wanted to feel reassured, I think, that all the things we value, all our ideals, still exist—that they're still there, even if they're not always evident.
When I was very young, my father impressed upon me that a commander is responsible for the welfare of everyone in his care. Any commander who got someone hurt because of lack of foresight or poor judgment had committed an unforgivable sin. My father was a dentist in the Navy, serving in Hawaii and San Diego from 1941 to 1945. He never saw combat, but he knew many who did. In the military, you get drilled into you the idea that you are responsible for every aspect of everyone's welfare.
During every minute of the flight, I was confident I could solve the next problem. My first officer, Jeff Skiles, and I did what airline pilots do: we followed our training, and our philosophy of life. We valued every life on that airplane and knew it was our responsibility to try to save each one, in spite of the sudden and complete failure of our aircraft. We never gave up. Having a plan enabled us to keep our hope alive. Perhaps in a similar fashion, people who are in their own personal crises—a pink slip, a foreclosure—can be reminded that no matter how dire the circumstance, or how little time you have to deal with it, further action is always possible. There's always a way out of even the tightest spot. You can survive.
Even though we had a successful outcome, it's human nature to wonder about the what-ifs. The second-guessing was much more frequent, and intense, in the first few days at night, when I couldn't sleep. It was hard to shut my brain off and get back to sleep. Sometimes I didn't, I couldn't. It was part of the posttraumatic stress that we have all felt, that each of the crew members has reported to each other.
It's funny—for the first two weeks after the accident, Jeff kept telling me, "I just want my old life back." But the other day he finally said for the first time, "You know, this is OK. I'm learning to like this. This is good." I think he's coming to terms with what's happened. He realizes that he's entitled to the attention. That he can still be true to himself. That accepting it isn't selling out.
Besides the outpouring of support from the passengers, the most touching sentiments I have received have been from other pilots. They tell me that because of the years of economic difficulties faced by the airline industry and its employees and the decreased respect for the profession, they have not felt proud to go to work—some of them for decades. Now, they tell me, they do. And they thank me for that. They thank us, the crew, because we've reminded people what all of us do every day, what's really at stake. They feel like they've regained some of the respect they'd lost.
What's next? I will return to flying for my airline—when I'm ready. I'm not sure when that will be. Probably a few months. I still haven't had many nights at home. My family and I are trying hard to remain true to ourselves and not let this change us, but there's a steep learning curve. The trajectory of our lives has changed forever. And we're determined to make good come out of this in every way that we can.
Capt. Sullenberger and his crew saved all 155 lives aboard US Airways Flight 1549.

------

On July 19, 1989, Captain Al Haynes of United Air Lines was in command of flight 232, a DC-10. Everyone should know about that flight – if not, you owe yourself a favor to do some research!

I think of these two men and how they both faced their incredible circumstances and I think that these men, although very different, are really cut from the same cloth. They were both Captains, with a capital “C”.

Somehow or other, I hope these two men get to meet each other.
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Old 02-21-2009, 02:39 PM
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Good update on the crew's progress...! I've certainly been more proud of my uniform since 1549, but it makes me wonder what this business will be like when the last of the Sully's and Haynes's retire from our Flightdecks.
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Old 02-21-2009, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by ExperimentalAB View Post
Good update on the crew's progress...! I've certainly been more proud of my uniform since 1549, but it makes me wonder what this business will be like when the last of the Sully's and Haynes's retire from our Flightdecks.
Do you really not think that there are other Sullys or Haynes out there already and many more in the wings ready to follow in their steps? To me that is like saying that there are no more Dan Dalys in the military - and yet time and time again we prove that wrong with actions of people like Shughart/Gordon or Michael Murphy.

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Old 02-21-2009, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by ExperimentalAB View Post
...but it makes me wonder what this business will be like when the last of the Sully's and Haynes's retire from our Flightdecks.
So are you honestly implying that if anyone else than Sully would've been in control on that day those passengers would've been doomed?

I'm sorry but I don't buy that argument. A severe clear, day-VFR flight right over an un-obstructed river and very close to all kinds of rescue equipment makes me believe other pilots (yes, including the FO on that flight ) would've probably been able to achieve a successful water landing too.

I think they all did a great job but let's stop this process of creating modern Gods - even Sully finds the whole glorification process uncomfortable...

I've had the privilege of meeting Capt. Al Haynes in person and he too disliked the "one-person-cult" some wanted to create out of his accident.

In fact, initially when his first officer was struggling with the controls and he hadn't realized how serious the situation was, he took over the controls from him and said "my controls." I’ll have to paraphrase him but he said something like "that was a very stupid thing of me to say because I immediately realized I was not in control of that aircraft!”

He emphasized that had it not been for the team work of his FO and the jumpseating pilot and the assistance they got from the ATC no one would have survived.

So in my opinion, statements such as yours implying the aviation profession might be doomed once our “Living Gods” pass on is not what Capt. Haynes (and I'm sure Capt. Sully too) had in mind when he (they) emphasized team work.
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Old 02-21-2009, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by USMCFLYR View Post
Do you really not think that there are other Sullys or Haynes out there already and many more in the wings ready to follow in their steps? To me that is like saying that there are no more Dan Dalys in the military - and yet time and time again we prove that wrong with actions of people like Shughart/Gordon or Michael Murphy.

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Agree 100%
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Old 02-21-2009, 04:28 PM
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We are all the sons and daughters of Ernie Gann, St.Ex, Len Morgan, and all the giants, and pioneers who went before us. This profession is a sacred trust. The other Sullys are out there, flying the line, anonymously,till fate taps them on the shoulder and its their turn in the box. I've met Capt. Haynes, in my prior life at an ALPA conference, like Sully,he made me proud to wear stripes.
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Old 02-21-2009, 04:48 PM
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Captains Haynes and Sullenberger have one more very important thing in common:

Captain Sullenberger wishes people would stop saying his name while ignoring the contributions of Jeff Skiles. And those of the flight attendants. And those of the rescuers.

Captain Haynes wishes people would stop saying his name while ignoring the contributions of Will Records, Dudley Dvorak, and Denny Fitch. And those of the flight attendants. And those of the rescuers.

After the crash in 1989, Captain Haynes encountered a problem similar to Sullenberger's: No matter how many times each of them point out the critical role each member of the crew had to play, the media insist on painting the captains as heroes in the classic Übermensch frame. Since it's our job as pilots to learn everything we can from each of these accidents, it's probably best to start with the factor both captains keep pointing to: CRM. Or CLR in Haynes' case, or whatever they call it at your airline of choice.

And while we're on the topic, This should be required reading for anybody who has any intention of ever flying an airplane.
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Old 02-21-2009, 05:27 PM
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It wasn’t the fact that it was either Haynes or Sullenberger that just happened to be pilots that saved the day… it just happened to be that it was two pilots, in two separate incidents, one named Haynes, and the other Sullenberger that saved the day. What saved the day was their dedication and discipline to their profession. I would like to think that all of us would perform in the same manner as these two distinguished gentlemen did under such extreme conditions.

Who knows… the next pilot to save the day, and I preface that may it never happen, may be Goldberg, or Smith… or who ever...
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Old 02-21-2009, 07:42 PM
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Sioux City: United 232 heavy, winds currently 360 at 11, three sixty at
eleven, you're cleared to land on any runway.

UAL 232: You don't want to be particular and make it a runway, huh?


Even after going through all that, they are still able to make a little joke there. Amazing.
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Old 02-21-2009, 09:54 PM
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Great article. However, I am not going to sell my potential short or that of anybody else here by making a comment regarding how we won't have any great airmen left after the Sully's and Haynes' are all retired.
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