Much has been made of the "hero" of US Airways Flight 1549 that crash landed into the Hudson River after departing New Yorks La Guardia Airport. Let me first say that I agree Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III did a fine job with all the things a commercial pilot should do when his aircraft is in trouble, but with so many people labeling him alone the "hero" it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
Why? Because as a pilot and a frequent traveler on commercial aircraft I recognize that the entire crew - and not just one person - are the heroes of this episode. It is assumed Captain Sullenberger was flying, but he has not confirmed that nor has the NTSB investigation proved it out yet and flying is only one aspect of aircraft operation. What about his Second in Command? What was his role? Most people don't even seem to realize that are two pilots in the cockpit - so yes, there were actually two pilots of US Airways 1549. Want to bet you cannot name the the other one?
Also, what about the flight attendants that apparently did such a splendid job of getting the passengers ready for the crash landing, out of the aircraft onto rafts and wings so that they could be rescued? In typical media fashion there has been a sensationalizing of the Captains role and a diminishing of the rest of the crew and it is a shame.
Here is a list of all the heroes. The crew members of US Airways Flight 1549 were:
Captain Chesley B. Sullenberger, III - Age 58, joined US Airways (PSA Airlines) in 1980. He has a total of 19,663 flights hours.
First officer Jeffrey B. Skiles - Age 49, joined US Airways (USAir) in 1986. He has a total of 15,643 flight hours.
Flight attendant, Shelia Dail - Age 57, joined US Airways (Piedmont Airlines) in 1980 and has more than 28 years experience with the airline.
Flight attendant, Doreen Welsh - Age 58, joined US Airways (Allegheny Airlines) in 1970 and has more than 38 years experience with the airline.
Flight attendant, Donna Dent - Age 51, joined US Airways (Piedmont Airlines) in 1982 and has more than 26 years experience with the airline.
Our safety when flying a commercial airliner is a group effort, so in my opinion labeling one person a "hero" before all the facts are in does a major disservice to the entire crew and the publics understanding of each crew members role in their safety. Think about that next time you fly.