Respecting your elders after USAirways 1549

It’s rude I know, and I apologise in advance to the good ladies of USAirways for highlighting the information below, but it seems only the right thing to do.

That ditching of USAirways flight 1549 was notable for many things, but one other has come to light – the extraordinary quantity of flying experience packed into that Airbus A320.

Not only did you have the now legendary Capt Sullenberger in charge,but he had the support of young Jeffrey Skiles. Details as follows:

Captain Chesley B. Sullenberger, III, age 58, joined US Airways (PSA Airlines) in 1980. He has a total of 19,663 flight hours.

First officer Jeffrey B. Skiles, age 49, joined US Airways (USAir) in 1986. He has a total of 15,643 flight hours.

I’m not sure that forcing Sully to retire in a couple of years wouldnecessarily be a contribution to flight safety. Fortunately things havenow changed, albeit after a struggle that did little credit to some of the interested parties.

And that’s only the half of it. In Europe in particular I have heardmany people who should know better being distinctly ungenerous to themore senior ladies who grace the cabins of US airlines. And I would behypocritical to pretend that I never contributed less than graciouslyto those conversations myself.

So, for the record, here’s a few more details of the USAirways crew:

Flight Attendant Sheila Dail, age 57, joined US Airways (Piedmont Airlines) in 1980 and has more than 28 years experience with the airline.

Flight Attendant Doreen Welsh, age 58, joined US Airways (Allegheny Airlines) in 1970 and has more than 38 years experience with the airline.

Flight Attendant Donna Dent, age 51, joined US Airways (Piedmont Airlines) in 1982 and has more than 26 years experience with the airline.

Nicely done girls!

Kieran Daly (48)

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5 Responses to Respecting your elders after USAirways 1549

  1. Ian Corby January 22, 2009 at 9:48 pm #

    I’d like first to say what a superb job “the crew of US Air 1549″ did in ditching in the Hudson river,but initially all the news ‘centered’ what a “great job” Capt had done,lets not forget there are other crew members,a F/O plus cabin crew? Having flown the A320 with BCAL/BA and B747 with BA and accumulated 15000 hrs.,we were never trained to “ditch” a commercial a/c.,it’s not part of the training schedule.Imagine trying to “ditch” an a/c in the North Atlantic in winter!!!I’d also like to point out that most ditchings or overruns in recent years have been from airports close to the sea,ie JFK to name one.
    Ian Corby ( Capt. BCAL/BA )

  2. Kieran Daly January 23, 2009 at 9:15 am #

    Thanks Ian. Seems to me that the question arises now as to whether or not it is worth spending time and money on more ditching training. I think there is something of a disparity between the amount of focus put on ditching in passenger briefings – via the flight attendants and the seatback cards – and the negligible focus on it in pilot training. In fact I suspect that there are a handful of airlines in which the flight attendants are better trained for ditching than are the pilots.

    Personally I’m not sure whether it’s worth it or not. But I do think it deserves a serious review by the regulators.

  3. Dan Wilson January 23, 2009 at 2:56 pm #

    Seniority prevails. No wonder this was a successful emergency landing looking at the length of service with the entire flight crew so obviously experience counts.

  4. bryan January 23, 2009 at 3:07 pm #

    You all make me very proud to be a grey wave person. A superb job by a great bunch.

  5. syed mustafa ali January 24, 2009 at 6:13 am #

    Great job to the flight attendants , irrespective of the age . its people who under estimate , “well i am a cabin crew too ” thats what makes me fell happy .

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