Holding out for a hero

It’ll be a while before I’ll be able to get those images of a plane in the Hudson River out of my mind, but at least it’s one of those feel good stories where it all ended happily ever after. The passengers were safe, the crew were heralded, the pilot called a hero. It’s all good.

But aren’t they forgetting someone?

Today, the audio from the black box on the plane was released, and the BBC have an excerpt of it. I expected it to be terrifying to listen to, but actually, everyone involved is calm, collected and professional.

There’s also a transcript of the entire conversation, and the person who I think isn’t getting enough credit, is the air traffic controller. Firstly, they manage to locate three emergency runways for the stricken plane. Unfortunately, it can’t get to any of them, and has to bail out in the Hudson. We know how that story ends. For the ATC, he just continues navigating the planes around, without contact to the plane he knows is heading straight for the river. He directs the airports and planes and keeps things running smoothly.

No question, the pilot did a fantastic job, and certainly earned his money that day, but spare a thought for the people in the control tower, trying to limit the damage, keep the airways safe as normal, and getting none of the credit.

2 thoughts on “Holding out for a hero

  1. The pilot really is incredibly calm. I can understand it initially when he thinks he can go back to La Guardia but you would have thought that there would have been some hint of nervousness when he knew he had to land in the river given what the result of that was likely to be.

  2. Why should the ATC be nervous, since:

    Pilot makes a mistake, Pilot dies.

    ATC makes a mistake, Pilot dies.

Comments are closed.