God Beside Us
James C. Denison
Before January 15, Chesley Sullenberger III was anything but a household name.
A former Air Force fighter pilot, he is also the founder of Safety Reliability Methods, Inc., a consulting business. According to their website, their mission is “to utilize our expertise to apply the most effective methods to your organization to achieve the highest levels of safety, performance and reliability.”
When Mr. Sullenberger safely landed US Airways Flight 1549 in New York’s Hudson River, I’m guessing his business clientele rose significantly. After the pilot saved the lives of the other 154 passengers, he then walked the length of the aircraft twice to be sure no one was left before disembarking himself.
Audio tapes of his exchange with air traffic controllers were released this week. Listening to them, I was amazed by his calm under pressure. If I ever need “the highest levels of safety, performance and reliability,” I know who to call.
I’ve read that bird strikes cause $600 million in damage to U.S. aircraft every year. You never know when one will strike your engines. It is extremely rare for both engines to be killed by birds, and even more rare for such an event to occur out of range of the airport where an emergency landing is possible.