Friday, January 8, 2010

Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger on Airline Safety

"Hudson Hero" Chesley Sullenberger is using his place in the spotlight to push for improved safety regulations for airline pilots -- and thus for passengers. "Sully," as he's widely known, appeared in conversation at The Commonwealth Club in San Francisco with KGO-TV anchor Dan Ashley November 30, 2009; they spoke about Sully's heroic piloting of U.S. Airways Flight 1549, which was forced to make an emergency landing in the Hudson River after its engines were knocked out of commission by a flock of birds. "This flight was completely normal," he said. "It was unremarkable in every way -- for the first 100 seconds."

What happened after that first 100 seconds has rocketed Sully to national fame, as he and his co-pilot safely landed the plane without the loss of a single life. Sully and Ashley recounted the entire story, which you can watch in the above video; Commonwealth Club members can also read it in the February/March issue of The Commonwealth magazine, due out at the end of this month.

But Sully isn't just going around the nation telling people about his adventure; he's also using his stature to talk about airline safety and reminding people that "commercial aviation is ultra-safe; it's safe and getting safer" -- a message that likely helps reduce fears brought on by any story of airline crashes or emergency landings.

In his Club program, Captain Sullenberger also talked about the need to update rules governing things such as the amount of time pilots have to rest between flights. "We're living with decades-old rest rules, rules that were written generations ago, in a different world, at a different time, when, on the short-haul flying end of the scale, pilots weren't flying as many flights per day as they do now," he said. "On the long-haul end of the scale, the technology did not yet exist to have 15- or 16-hour nonstop flights to Mumbai."

He said that public awareness and political will are needed to make changes in the system. He's doing his part with the public awareness.


shawn said...
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