Saturday, 17 January 2009

Now that's what I call leadership.....

I was mesmerised by the story this week about Captain Chesley B Sullenburger III who crash -landed a plane in the Hudson River in New York.

In case you didn't see the story the flight took off from LaGuardia airport and hit a flock of birds. Incredibly this caused both of the engines to fail immediately. Captain Sullenburger was faced with a split decision as to what course of action to take. He decided to glide the plane and it's 155 passengers safely onto the Hudson River apparently landing so smoothly that some of the passengers didn't know it was a crash land.....until the water started rushing in. The crew immediately evacuated the plane and every member was led to safety. Captain Sullenburger refused to leave the plan until he was 100% sure that there was no one left on board, walking up and down the aisle 3 times himself just to be sure.

Someone, somewhere must be welling up with pride that their training and pilot development programme has produced such an exceptional result. Captain Sullenburger clearly had many, many years of experience but this was all built upon a solid foundation of learning that he received primarily during the Air Force as a fighter pilot. Pilots are trained to deal with these high pressure situations that require a combination of split decision making, calmness and the application of incredible skill.

If you are looking for an example to demonstrate that great people development is a combination of 'teaching' and on the job learning then here it is. Captain Sullenburger had received the best training possible but applied and refined his skills over a 40 year period.

If there was ever a person you wanted to have flying your plane then he is your man. Of course there are many other pilots and crew out there who are also primed, trained and ready to deal with such a situation.
I take my hat off to all of you and those who are responsible for their development.


Kimberley said...


Training Time said...

I agree ... Only with a solid base built on quality training and development could a pilot gain such experience and expertise in his field. So much so that he would know exactly what to do in an crisis situation. Thank you Sully and everyone involved in the training he received throughout the years.

Eshan said...
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