Miracle landing on Hudson took a team
Vail, CO, Colorado
I am a pilot who feels compelled to make a statement with regards to recent events. The water landing of the A320 on the Hudson sheds light on some glaring misperceptions taken not only by the media as a whole but also by the general public.
Watching and listening to all of the recent media reports about the event, one would get the impression that there was only one crew member on the airplane, the captain.
This couldn’t be further from the truth, and not enough credit has been bestowed upon the first officer and the flight attendants. Let me be clear that I commend the captain for an exemplary job, and he in every way deserves to be labeled a hero for his efforts.
However, having lived through an emergency as a pilot, I know firsthand that the combined efforts on the part of the other crew members need to be acknowledged.
In this scenario, the captain apparently landed the airplane (normally both pilots switch legs), which would mean the first officer had a tremendous responsibility of handling radio calls and emergency checklists and talking to the flight attendants while concurrently backing up the captain with navigation and flight parameters.
As far as I’ve seen, the first officer has hardly been recognized at all.
Secondly, I want to commend the professionalism of these flight attendants and all flight attendants in general.
They have a more difficult job than most people realize, and in combination with a real emergency, they are expected to keep level heads, take control of the cabin, delegate responsibilities to passengers, listen to instructions from the flight deck, blow the emergency doors and slides, and lead passengers to safety. I have hardly heard any praise of the flight attendants on this water landing. The fact that the passengers were calmly helping one another and exited the plane in a safe, expeditious and orderly fashion speaks volumes of the flight attendants.
It’s time the media recognize that most airplane emergencies end well because of the professional, efficient and symbiotic efforts of the entire crew, not just one individual.
Lastly, I hope this “miracle on the Hudson” finally quells the misrepresentation that today’s airplanes “fly themselves.” Modern airliners are extremely complex machines, and it takes a very well-trained and experienced crew to bring a positive conclusion to a potential disaster.
I take my hat off to each member of this particular flight crew for their demonstration of the highest professional standards and their positive reflection on all of us who work in the industry.
First officer, Frontier Airlines
Editor’s note: Martin’s mother, Marti Waneka, is an Edwards resident.