Let me acknowledge the fact that some readers of this post will vehemently disagree with what I’m about to say. Others may get angry or upset or simply shake their heads with the disappointment of my “just not getting it”. I’m going in with my eyes open here so all your emotions, both in agreement or opposition, are warmly welcome.
Here’s the thing – what happened to US Airways flight 1549 was not a “miracle”. It simply wasn’t, and I believe that we’ve gotten a bit cavalier in the use and application of such a term.
Now before your feathers get into full ruffle, understand that I am overjoyed by yesterday’s outcome! I personally have been a passenger on two near-crashes and cringe every time the news flashes imagery of a downed plane. As someone who has flown more than I’d care to admit, I will be honest that I think of what might happen (and how I’d react) each and every time I fly. Every single time.
But the facts as we know them are this. Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger is an extremely well trained, highly experienced pilot and air safety consultant who did his job flawlessly. His flight crew? Performed flawlessly. The passengers? With some limited exceptions, performed flawlessly. The ferry, tugboat and emergency crews? Performed flawlessly.
So let’s not focus on divine intervention. Let’s instead attribute the outcome to everyone doing exactly the right thing at exactly the right moment. Training, experience, leadership, strength, empathy, selflessness. These are the attributes we strive for as professionals and individuals. These are the ideals we attempt to reinforce in the minds and hearts of our employees, our friends, our families. And we do all of this in preparation for whatever we might encounter, hoping that it will be enough to get us through with grace.
So I, for one, will take this brief moment to stand up and applaud those who actually got it right! And the next time I board a plane and give the crew a warm smile, I’ll be thinking of Captain Sully and all those others who performed so well under such duress.
Congratulations to them all and let’s keep the conversation going.