by Chris Banescu –
It is often in times of crisis and life-threatening emergencies that the real character of an individual is made manifest. The contrasts between the leadership of an American airline captain and that of our current president offer us an opportunity for personal and societal reflection. The differences could not be more striking.
On January 15, 2009, US Airways Flight 1549 took off from New York’s LaGuardia Airport with 155 passengers and crew on board. In the cockpit of the Airbus A-320 twin-engine aircraft were Captain Chesley Sullenberger and First Officer Jeff Skiles. With First Officer Skiles at the controls, the airplane climbed away from the airport. As flight 1549 approached an altitude of 3,000 feet, the plane struck a flock of geese and instantly lost thrust in both engines. At once Captain Sullenberger realized that both engines were failing and imminent danger awaited the passengers and crew. He quickly put his hand on the side stick, called out “my airplane” (at 3:53 in the video), and took over control of the aircraft from First Officer Skiles. There was no panic, no fuss, no paralysis, no moment of indecision — just calm, competent leadership and confident action. [Read more...]