It’s a Sick Bird…It’s a Falling Plane…No, it’s…Super Sully!

January 16, 2009 at 6:44 am (Uncategorized)

Now there’s a breaking news headline you don’t see every day:


Great, isn’t it? I think it’s maybe flown straight into my all-time Top Five. And it wasn’t like it was a seaplane or a little twin engine Cessna, in which case you just might be able to get yourself and the pilot out your own tin-can side door. No, this was an Airbus. A proper plane, full of people. 155 people, no less. And it didn’t actually crash into the Hudson, either; no, technically speaking, this plane landed on the Hudson. As the college caretaker said when he came across my room’s beer fridge one day, as we hid in the loft with our fists stuffed in our mouths to stop the giggling, “If that don’t beat all.”

I’ve always thought this particular part of the pre-flight safety demonstration was suspect at best and outright deceitful on any other reading. “Sure,” I always think to myself (I’ve even put this in a short story), “this will really save the day when we fall from the sky and land on the water. Because that’s what always happens. You hear about it all the time. Sure you do. And that’s when those inflatable slippery dips will really come in handy, like giant yellow floaties.”

I always take the time to roll my eyes at the – what are we supposed to call them now? I’m going to get it wrong. May I please just say ‘stewardess’ and ask that no one judge me too harshly for it? Thank you – I roll my eyes at the stewardess during this part of the demonstration, just to let them know that I know it’s a big load of guff. There ain’t no plane landing on no water, no way, no how. Ain’t gonna happen. 

Until today. What are they calling the pilot? Super Sully, I think it is, and that is okay by me. It is certainly pretty super. 

Of all the unlikely scenarios. But how wonderful that all those people are safe and well. I love a happy ending, and I bet Super Sully’s family is as proud as punch of their boy today. 

[this is about half the size of the original post, which was lost thanks to an infuriating day of computer glitches.]



  1. Pete said,

    What? Did he land on the ice or the water? Wow, will have to check that out. Super Sully will definitely have to be up there in my top ten superheroes gallery, along with President-Elect Obama and, I dunno, whichever SA cricketer happens to make our day. I guess we need to listen to those silly demonstrations after all.

  2. Pete said,

    Silly me – thinking there would be ice on the Hudson 😉 But the networks are loving this story. I just heard the Sky correspondent calling Sully Sullenberger a stud and a rock star. I wonder how many words they can find for hero?

  3. coffee said,

    sometimes i wonder if the news agencies can hear themselves reporting on things like this crash: “So the plane crashed and now it’s not flying anymore, because it crashed, and it’s in the water, and yes, we have now confirmed that the water is wet, okay, and this also means that the plane is wet because it is in the water…”

  4. litlove said,

    Your description of those flight safety instructions really made me laugh! I saw this story on the news and thought it was amazing, and just SO good to read after all the terrible events of late. I’m really sorry you were suffering with the computer, though – isn’t that just the most frustrating thing?

  5. doctordi said,

    Pete, I know! It’s so… heroic! And as someone who’s become a little bit afraid of flying as I’ve gotten older, I am not going to tire of telling myself that Airbuses can land safely on water, because as an Australian, I’m surrounded by it.

    Welcome, coffee – your paraphrasing of the reporters made me laugh. I missed this highly technical account, but I recognise the in-depth, incisive nature of the reportage very well.

    Litlove, agreed. So, so good to have some old fashioned positive news. And of course it’s only now we find out that pilots don’t actually train for ditching (I was right! Guff!). Certainly when I was on a plane bound for London from Washington Dulles (as in surely the dullest airport known to man? And I love airports!) back in 2000, my pilot had no intention of attempting a ditching when the thing that measures the air pressure went on the blink. The actual air pressure was fine, but the gauge that measured changes was not, and he decided to turn the plane around because he “wasn’t confident about making the Atlantic crossing.” I lost confidence in the idea too at that point, although I had all confidence that yes, I would like a drink, and yes, I would have the whole bottle. Dinner service takes on a whole new urgency in these circumstances, but I’m glad we didn’t go down watching that tedious Minnie Driver/David Duchovny vehicle…

    Computer problem BEYOND VEXING, especially when this is my NEW FOUR MONTH OLD MAC.

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