Getting Started with Next-Level Planning

Anyone who was connected to the world via their televisions on the afternoon of January 15, 2009, will never forget the “Miracle on the Hudson,” the now-immortalized act of heroism by U.S. Air Flight 1549 Captain “Sully” Sullenberger. While selfless acts of heroism occur every day across the country, the “Miracle” will always epitomize the personal intrepidness that Americans hold in the highest esteem. The “perfect” emergency landing of the Airbus A320, carrying 155 passengers, on the frigid Hudson River in full view of the West Side of Manhattan, was nothing short of spectacular.

Was it really a miracle? Or was it a perfect example of risk management in action where all risks and contingencies were expertly identified, assessed, planned, and prepared for with all available instruments and techniques implemented to minimize the greatest possible risks?

Consider this:

  • With nearly 35,000 hours of flight time between them, Captain Sullenberger and First Officer Skiles had acquired the skills and judgment to handle just about any situation, and they had trained extensively on emergency water landings.
  • The flight crew was highly trained in emergency situations—enough to know that only the front doors of the aircraft should be opened in a water landing. They actually prevented a passenger from opening the rear doors, which would have caused the aircraft to fill with water.
  • The A320 is fully engineered to withstand a water landing, ...

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