Friday, November 30, 2012

Highest Duty: Miracle on the Hudson

Remember the airplane that landed on the Hudson River, New York in 2009?

All 155 passengers and crew on board US Airways 1549 survived the water landing after the A320 hit a flock of birds and lost its 2 engines. In less than 3 minutes, the pilot made a decision to land the plane in the safest spot possible and made Captain Chesley Sullenberger a hero.

I followed the landing on the news and when I saw the video of Capt. Sully's talk in our company's headquarters, I knew this guy has been preparing his entire life to make that historic and heroic landing. You see, the company I work for is BIG on safety, ensuring that all employees stay focus on their jobs and get to go home to their families unscathed. Capt. Sully's leadership and personal commitment to airline safety are very inspiring and that made me decide to buy his biography.

Unfortunately, his book is not, if rarely available, around Glorietta area so on Person A's recent trip to NYC he got me the book. At a heavily discounted price.

Person A mentioned that Strand Bookstore is a book-lover's haven. It has a library vibe and most books are discounted. He said, "You would love it there".

Let me share why you should read this literary piece for entertainment purposes and to learn lessons that you can impart to your colleagues:

1. It is well-written: simple, straight-forward and engaging. It chronicles his life from a little town in Texas and tries to pinpoint the defining moments that equipped him to land the A320 safely on the Hudson.

2. The book reminds me to stay focus and know what are the important things at the moment. In order to execute the landing, he was able to weed out the unnecessary steps and just focus on getting the plane safely on the ground. Similarly, there are a thousand distractions in this world and we just need to learn to focus on what is important and necessary for the moment. Of course, without losing the big picture.

3. I admire the man. He knows what he wants and constantly reinvents himself. From the age of 5, he knows that he wants to be a pilot and so at 16, he was able to get his pilot's license. Then he needs to get a good education so he enrolled at United States Airforce Academy and named Outstanding Cadet in Airmanship in his graduating class. He holds 2 master's degrees. He has a safety consulting company.

4. He's a real person who is devoted to his family.  He has stay married to his wife since the early 1990s and they have 2 adopted daughters. It's a lovely story how they tried to conceive and ended up with 2 daughters who look like them.

Very inspiring. 

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