Friday, January 16, 2009

Experience Suddenly Matters

I'm sure everyone has heard/seen the story about the US Airways jet that landed in the Hudson River yesterday after being KO'd (allegedly) by bird strikes.

The media, rightly so, is trumpeting the heroic actions of the pilot, Chesley Sullenberger III. He managed to safely splash-land the plane in the water, with only minor injuries reported to anyone on board.

This guy has been flying for US Airways for 29 years, is a veteran of the Air Force (flew F4 Phantoms), is also a glider pilot (hey, think that came in handy with a dead airplane?) and a bunch of other things.

I will wager that all 155 people on that flight are eternally grateful that there was a calm, EXPERIENCED professional at the helm on their fateful flight.

Hmmm... and yet, we seem giddy as schoolgirls about putting a nearly totally inexperienced pilot at the helm of our nation. Would you want a guy who cheated through flight school, then only flew a Cessna for a year and a half before taking the stick on YOUR airliner?
Well, that's what you're getting in 4 days, America. Better pay attention to the "in case of emergency" card in the seatback pocket. Lord help us all.