“we got it”

Three years ago today, the world watched as Capt. “Sully” Sullenberger landed U.S. Airways’ huge airbus Flight #1549 in the Hudson River. Flocks of Canada geese had “taken the thrust” from two of the jet engines. All 155 souls on board were saved, and Sully left only after assuring the plane was empty and he had the flightbook in hand.

I loved the story that day for reasons beyond the rescue. First, my Navy pilot son-in-law was in the midst of officer’s training.  He had flown Kate and me to points along the Front Range just before leaving, and had dealt masterfully with an air traffic control officer who either needed more coffee or a manners reminder from his mama that now-long-ago Sunday morning. The second reason came upon learning that Sullenberger was an Air Force Academy graduate. A little Colorado-connection pride.

This morning, when I watched the YouTube clip of the cockpit recording, set against graphics showing the watery landing, I found one more thing to love: the teamwork by people who had never met. Cactus 1549 radios to the tower at LaGuardia and gets an immediate “we got it”  in response. A sequence of possible landing sites is offered by the man in the tower and dismissed, one by one, by the so-calm captain. When that contact is lost and the controller is searching, another pilot reports back to the tower: “He said he was going in the river.” And all the while, ground/water efforts were being launched to get passengers and crew safely on shore, after the fact.

Proving, once again, no man is an island.  Even in the Hudson.
Man, I do like knowing that.

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