(Expanded from a previous article.)
Tom Hanks’s recent movie “Sully” allows us to re-experience the dramatic events of January, 2009. Looking back, there are three great stories in the averted disaster of US Airways Flight 1549 that can change our outlook on life’s unexpected twists and turns.
First is the story of providence, which placed a pilot with precisely the right training, experience, and temperament at the helm of the crippled jetliner while placing the aircraft within reach of the only feasible landing strip — the Hudson River — for a safe, if chilly, touchdown.
Lesson 1: Even when things go wrong, look for an unexpected solution at hand to make them go right.
Second is the story of heroism. The pilot, Chesley Sullenberger, drew upon his experience with both military fighters and gliders to bring the passenger plane safely down from the sky. The flight crew quickly and efficiently instructed the people to prepare for impact and then hastened them off the sinking plane. The rescuers, both professional and private citizens, steered their craft to the crash site within minutes. Not one life was lost.
Lesson 2: With the right people ready and waiting, almost anything is possible.
But the third story is that of the passengers. For the most part untrained and unprepared, without exception the passengers on Flight 1549 did precisely what they needed to do in order to survive.
They followed instructions.