Passengers on US Air Flight 1549 were grateful that pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger was able to safely put down the airliner, disabled by bird strikes, in the Hudson River. Investigators tasked with explaining the events have found that he might not have needed to.
They used trained pilots who went through the scenario experienced by Sully and his crew, and found that time after time, in a computer-based simulation there was enough clearance to return to LaGuardia, according to the Wall Street Journal. In spite of that, investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board will say that the crew made the right choice in landing the ailing airliner on the water instead.
Sullenberger was a instant hero in 2009 when he safely maneuvered the Airbus A320, which had lost both engines, to safety. And NTSB officials noted that to be wrong, in the midst of one of the busiest airspaces in the country could have been catastrophic for passengers as well as Americans on the ground. Sully’s been a champion of proper training,using most of his interviews on television and his time in the spotlight to focus on ensuring that all cabin crews were drilled in properly dealing with all eventualities.
It’s a sentiment he’s taken to heart himself, even before Flight 1549, in starting Safety Reliability Methods, which streamlines checklists for pilots and works on better training protocols. It’s work that could reduce the number of airliner accidents deemed a result of “pilot error” to use NTSB parlance.
[Image: Ingrid Taylar via Flickr]