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Landing on the Hudson River & Being a Hero

I think we've all seen and heard about Flight 1549 doing the emergency landing on the Hudson River. Truly a happy ending to the story and for that I'm glad, but it also made me glad to see for once we're using the word hero in a context that seems appropriate. Here are a group of people that go to work every day. They weren't planning to be heroes, and few would find anything heroic about flying back and forth across the country every day. In the space of a few minutes they were presented with a test that would forever alter their vision of themselves. Imagine surviving but only saving a portion of the passengers! Or succumbing to perfectly normal fear and not doing as well as you should have. But thanks to training and character and probably a little luck they accomplished something substantial.

I saw a short interview with Sully Sullenberger and he seems like a genuinely nice guy, uncomfortable with the 15 minutes of fame, trying to be gracious, still thinking he could have done something better. Can you imagine being in his place with all that attention? Has to be damned uncomfortable to say the least. Maybe someday I can buy him a cup of coffee and just talk about anything except the crash, by then I suspect he'll be ready to be a regular guy again to the extent that it's possible.

And as a small aside, did you catch the library book he left on the plane? Just Culture: Balancing Safety and Accountability. Interesting topic all things considered, and I've ordered a copy just out of curiosity.


I'm Andy Warren, currently a SQL Server trainer with End to End Training. Over the past few years I've been a developer, DBA, and IT Director. I was one of the original founders of SQLServerCentral.com and helped grow that community from zero to about 300k members before deciding to move on to other ventures.


Posted by John Magnabosco on 13 February 2009

One of the most impressive aspects of Mr. Sullenburger's presence is his calm demeanor. Listening to the communication between him and the air traffic controllers was a spectacular example of grace under pressure. I am convinced that his calmness contributed to the successful emergency landing. He continues that quality even when in the spotlight.

Posted by Steve Jones on 13 February 2009

Interesting book. I pinged the publisher for a Kindle copy.

I haven't seen Mr. Sullerburger, but I did hear him on the radio a few days later and he did seem to be a little uncomfortable with the attention. He definitely is a hero, and I hope that he's not unhappy with the attention, because he deserves to recognized as such, but not have his life infringed upon for his actions.

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