Terra Sigillata

I’m stuck in the US East Coast ice and snow trying to get home after some science work for our nation’s health agency (that is my rationale for posting this on my Sb blog). My four-hour equipment and weather delay has now turned into a canceled flight.

The gate agent just announced that those of us who can get out tonight will be booked on a US Airways flight.

The line came very close to breaking into outright applause.

Can anyone say “Sully for CEO?”

And if I’m going to put this out in public, let’s give megaprops to Wisconsin-based co-pilot Jeff Skiles who did all the other stuff to set out the flaps and such that helped Cpn. Sullenburger save 155 passengers and crew on the Hudson.

I don’t mean to be superficial and flippant but one has to ask if the near-tragedy will subconsciously serve as a marketing tool?

Let’s just say that my fellow refugees are feeling pretty good about US Airways right now.

Note added 28 January 2009: In response to several of our commenters below, I want to make good with also recognizing the absolutely crucial role of flight attendants in the survival of all passengers aboard. Reader bsci specifically noted the heroism of the flight attendant Doreen Welsh of Ambridge, PA, who kept a passenger from opening a rear exit door that would’ve certain sunk the aircraft.

Therefore, I post the following tribute to the flight attendants issued by the Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute (FAMRI), an organization devoted to research on special health issues of flight attendants.

As is often told on airlines, flight attendants are your number one safety feature of the aircraft.

FLIGHT ATTENDANT MEDICAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE
A Testament to Experienced Airline Flight Personnel Doing Their Jobs

As the news of the miraculous landing of US Airways Flight 1549 using the Hudson River as a landing strip unfolded on January 15, 2009, the world was awe struck at the skill, coordination and calm of the cockpit and cabin crew members which resulted in saving all their lives and those of their 150 passengers. The hair raising accounts of the landing of Airbus A320-214 abound, and the skill and quick thinking of Captain Chelsey B. Sullenberg III of Danville, California, with the assistance of his copilot Jeffrey B. Skiles of Madison, Wisconsin, will be recorded in the annals of aviation history as incredible mastery of landing a crippled aircraft without substantial injury or loss of life to those on board.

Indeed, the only injury sustained was by one of the three flight attendants, Doreen Welsh of Ambridge, Pennsylvania. Ms. Welsh, assigned to the rear of the plane, was hurt when helping passengers in this section get out alive. When a passenger tried to
open a rear door to escape and water came rushing in, Ms. Welsh secured the door and told the passengers to “turn around, you’ve got to get out on the wing.” With her colleagues, Donna Dent of Winston Salem, NC and Sheila Dail of Weaverville, NC,
working the fore and middle sections, the flight attendants ushered the passengers to safety on the wings. What happened in the cabin can only be known by the flight attendants–who will tell you “it’s all in a day’s work”.

Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute salutes Captain Sullenberg, Co-pilot Skiles and Flight Attendants Dent, Welsh and Dail and their courageous actions in achieving an impossible feat. The next time a flight attendant calls attention to the safety video all passengers will be on full alert.

Comments

  1. #1 Art
    January 27, 2009

    Good point on the co-pilot. Sully, with all his skill and good judgment, didn’t do it all by himself.

    Also lets not forget the cabin crew. During an emergency they are in charge of maintaining order, calming people down, getting and keeping people organized and moving in the right direction. Persuading and guiding if they can, forcing them if they must.

    It took Sully and Skiles to get the plane down in one piece. Inspiration that they thought about and were able to bring the plane down near the ferry terminals. But the whole crew gets credit for the good outcome.

  2. #2 sweetpea
    January 27, 2009

    Hope you get out tonight! Not fun being stranded..uh unless your on a beach in Costa Rica like we are…..

    Safe travels to you from both of us

  3. #3 leigh
    January 27, 2009

    if you take off at night, at the very least there are no birds to worry about!

  4. #4 Bob O'H
    January 28, 2009

    On our US Airways flight back from North Carolina to New York after ScienceOnline, we had the safety announcement, including the “…in the unlikely event of a landing at sea…” comment, which caused a few laughs.

  5. #5 bsci
    January 28, 2009

    Definitely don’t forget the flight attendants. When the plane hit the water, one passenger started to open the back door immediately. If he succeeded, the plane would have sunk like a rock. As some water was starting to leak in, a flight attendant was able to get him to stop and reclose the door, injuring her leg in the process. I still haven’t seen her identified by name.

  6. #6 Abel Pharmboy
    January 28, 2009

    Art and bsci, I am embarrassed by my oversight of the cabin crew. bsci, the flight attendant of whom you speak was Doreen Welsh of Ambridge, PA.

    I have added to the post above the text of a tribute from the Flight Attendants Medical Research Institute that acknowledges the crucial actions of Ms. Welsh and her colleagues, Donna Dent of Winston Salem, NC and Sheila Dail of Weaverville, NC.

  7. #7 Tsu Dho Nimh
    January 28, 2009

    Indeed, the only injury sustained was by one of the three flight attendants

    What about the report of a person with two broken legs? Was that the flight attendant? Or an inaccurate report?

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