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Old 03-10-2010, 11:11 AM   #41
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When I was a kid, we were leaning on the edge of a cement well that a neighbour sinking into the sand. The section suddenly dropped and I grabbed their young daughter and rolled away from the well. She was most assuredly dropping head first into the well.

They thought I was a hero. I was acting on instinct. Instincts are really powerful in times of emergency. Training just improves the emergency performance (like glider training).
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Old 03-10-2010, 11:35 AM   #42
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. Training just improves the emergency performance (like glider training).

Those of us who are in the business are extremely proud of Sully and his crew and the crediblity he brings to pilot group as a whole.

Lets not get too wrapped up in the glider thing. Every pilot strives to be as fuel efficient as possible by making idle power descents from cruise altitude to final approach (energy management), effectively becoming a glider on every flight. I have considerable amount of time in the plane he put it the drink and it glides just fine. I also have time in plane involved in the United Souix City accident and am still amazed they were able to come close to any airport let alone land on one and have survivors. None of the flight controls were operable.

Where Sully excelled was making a decision, runway? or the water?, (all within 2 nanoseconds) and sticking with it.
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Old 03-10-2010, 11:38 AM   #43
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... plane involved in the United Souix City accident and am still amazed they were able to come close to any airport let alone land on one and have survivors. None of the flight controls were operable.

Where Sully excelled was making a decision, runway? or the water?, (all within 2 nanoseconds) and sticking with it.
What he said x2.
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Old 03-10-2010, 10:53 PM   #44
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"This Thread is USELESS without pics........."


Here is a very good simulation of Sully's flight:

YouTube - Flight 1549 3D Reconstruction, Hudson River Ditching Jan 15, 2009
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Old 03-11-2010, 07:27 AM   #45
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I suspect that what T-Al is questioning is all the 'hero' talk. Was Sully really a 'hero'? I don't know all the details, but I question it. To me, a hero is someone who puts themselves (or anything they value) at risk for the benefit of others without regard for their own safety or well being.

Sully was also saving himself when he landed the plane. Would he had done anything differently if he was the only one on board?

Another thing that may have been discussed but I have not heard, is whether he did anything that the average pilot would not have done. I understand that an unconventional landing like this is much more difficulty than a standard one, but that is part of their training. If he did show extraordinary skill (and he may have), then that is a testament to his skill, but I don't think that alone makes him a hero.

Or turn it around - what if something about the timing of that landing made it even more difficult, and all the passengers died? Would Sully then be 'evil'?

I think the news media decided that 'hero' would sell well, and they ran with it. But he does come across as a really nice guy on TV, and I'd bet that he really is.

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I was just thinking along those same lines just now as I started reading the thread.
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Old 03-11-2010, 11:30 AM   #46
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Ahh - the connotation versus denotation of the word hero and what I call the 'numbing' down of our language due to the 24 hour news cycle, media exaggeration, and excitement addled minds requiring 'over-the top' adjectives to describe their lives. When so many actions done by people are called heroic, when in fact they may not be and the word is being used exaggeratively, then the word becomes useless in the extreme connotative sense. We then struggle to find another word to express what we really mean - hence the discussion in this thread. It's sad as there are truly some good words that have lost their ability to influence due to the mis-application of them to more routine instances.
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Old 03-11-2010, 01:07 PM   #47
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deserat, that was my claim also, but when I look at the dictionary definitions, there is very little regarding self-sacrifice. So maybe our own (me included) personal definitions are a bit off from historic usage?

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Etymology

Via Latin hērōs (“‘hero’”) from Ancient Greek ἥρως (hērōs), “‘demi-god, hero’”) from Proto-Indo-European *ser- (“‘to watch over, protect’”)[1][2]. Related to Latin servo (“‘protect’”).


1. A real or mythical person of great bravery who carries out extraordinary deeds.
2. A role model.
3. The main protagonist in a work of fiction.
4. A champion.
5. An unwilling sufferer of an act of terrorism, terminal disease, or other tragedy.
6. A large sandwich made from meats and cheeses; a hero sandwich
7. Someone who possesses supernatural powers (in fiction) such as Spiderman.
Certainly Sully "watched over and protected", but all competent pilots are doing that, regardless of whether an exciting incident occurs or not. Is a crossing guard a 'hero' even if nothing exciting ever happens? In some ways, yes - but they won't get much media attention.

But I don't see any 'self sacrifice' or 'disregard for their own safety' in those definitions/derivation. Maybe another word is better for what we are talking about?

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Old 03-11-2010, 01:13 PM   #48
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I think we are trying to pick the fly sh*t out of the pepper.

So, once again... If Mr. Sullenberger isn't a hero, who is? And why aren't we hearing about them in the media?
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Old 03-11-2010, 03:14 PM   #49
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How about he is/was and excellent and most competent pilot? Although the dictionary doesn't say that a hero denotatively risks their own life, we may add that extra bit to our understanding of the definition. As for flysh*t, well, I wouldn't know about that......I do agree there are probably some true heroes we should here about in the media...or how about true news? and not just someone's opinion about the news?

Over here in Germany on AFN, we do hear about 'true heroes' - ones who risk life and limb to save others under very stressful circumstances - many of them don't survive. I'm fairly insulated against the media onslaught in the US - and notice when I do travel back to the US and turn on the TV or radio - yegads!
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Old 03-11-2010, 04:21 PM   #50
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Was his co-pilot a hero? I doubt he just set there and watched! Most likely called things like air speed, altitude, and maned the radios and coordinated with the rest of the crew. How about the rest of the crew? The prepared the cabin, and got everyone off after the landing, no simple task in itself, however, they are not on the media's 'hero watch'. Sully did what he was paid to do, and in the process of saving his life he brought the rest of them along for the ride. In my book, a good pilot, not necessarily a hero.
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Old 03-12-2010, 10:10 AM   #51
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When so many actions done by people are called heroic, when in fact they may not be and the word is being used exaggeratively, then the word becomes useless in the extreme connotative sense. We then struggle to find another word to express what we really mean - hence the discussion in this thread. It's sad as there are truly some good words that have lost their ability to influence due to the mis-application of them to more routine instances.
The other day I found myself saying "But this was when the Bronze Star actually meant something"...
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Old 03-12-2010, 10:24 AM   #52
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Was his co-pilot a hero? I doubt he just set there and watched! Most likely called things like air speed, altitude, and maned the radios and coordinated with the rest of the crew. How about the rest of the crew? The prepared the cabin, and got everyone off after the landing, no simple task in itself, however, they are not on the media's 'hero watch'. Sully did what he was paid to do, and in the process of saving his life he brought the rest of them along for the ride. In my book, a good pilot, not necessarily a hero.
So it was just a "bad day at work", and Sully just calmly put a plane down in the Hudson, and then went and had a couple drinks? Gotcha............
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Old 03-12-2010, 10:31 AM   #53
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Yep, that's how I see it! I hit a bird at over 500 mph and less than 500 ft. It ripped the front radar cpver off the aircraft and rolled it up over the front. We recovered the aircraft and landed. Went to the bar that night and had a drink with the co-pilot.

A stock car racer blows a tire and steers the car away from the grand stands, saves hundreds. Hero?

A doctor catches a bleeder and saves the patients life, Hero?

This could go on forever. Sully had no other choice but to do what he had trained all his life to do. Lucky for the passengers on board.
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Old 03-12-2010, 12:51 PM   #54
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Yep, that's how I see it! I hit a bird at over 500 mph and less than 500 ft. It ripped the front radar cpver off the aircraft and rolled it up over the front. We recovered the aircraft and landed. Went to the bar that night and had a drink with the co-pilot.

A stock car racer blows a tire and steers the car away from the grand stands, saves hundreds. Hero?

A doctor catches a bleeder and saves the patients life, Hero?

This could go on forever. Sully had no other choice but to do what he had trained all his life to do. Lucky for the passengers on board.
I think a person's frame of reference is what defines a hero to me. Along with my dad, my grandfather was my hero. Imagine my surprise when I found out at his funeral that not only did he fight in World War I, he was awarded the Silver Star. He never mentioned it to me so I never knew about it until his funeral, when some local vets from the American Legion and VFW showed up......

He NEVER would have allowed anyone to call him a hero. My dad doesn't even know the whole story.............grandpa would have just said he was "doing what needed to be done".........

He was a hero to me, but then again, that's MY frame of reference........
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Old 03-12-2010, 01:09 PM   #55
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I hit a bird at over 500 mph and less than 500 ft.

Rustic, in what kind of aircraft?
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Old 03-12-2010, 01:21 PM   #56
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Switchblade Edsel F-111 I'll bet.
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Old 03-12-2010, 02:16 PM   #57
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Yep, that's how I see it! I hit a bird at over 500 mph and less than 500 ft. It ripped the front radar cpver off the aircraft and rolled it up over the front.
Hey, I remember seeing an incredible photo of an F-111 or FB-111 with damage like that, I think it was on the back cover of TAC's safety magazine from about 1980-1983. The fiberglass strands from the radome were completely unwound and streaming back over the airframe of the 'vaark, it looked like a giant cartoon exploding cigar. Very impressive. Was this possibly your jet?
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Old 03-12-2010, 03:24 PM   #58
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It was the vark. F-111. I did not see the safety magazine, and I was in Europe as a Forward Air Controller in the 80-83 time frame. It was around 76 or 77 when we took out the buzzard. Never saw it coming. Just doing what we were paid to do. Saved the tax payers about $17,000,000 not counting the cleaning of the flight suit.
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Old 03-13-2010, 07:04 AM   #59
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Flying is a lot more dramatic to non pilots than pilots. I have yet to talk to another pilot that thinks Sully is a hero. Most of the non pilots do.
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Old 03-13-2010, 02:30 PM   #60
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...grandpa would have just said he was "doing what needed to be done".........

He was a hero to me, but then again, that's MY frame of reference........
He decided to keep it to himself because he could. Sully did not have that choice. He would have if he could have.
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