Monday, January 4, 2010

The Pilot

I am not trying to belittle the Hudson river airline pilots achievement last year when he managed to land a plane on an icy river and allow all of his passengers and crew to be rescued from what could have been a terrible air disaster. But I want to ask you to also remember a pilot who I was privileged to meet after he gave a speech at my ten year employee awards banquet. His name is Alfred C. Haynes and it still gives me chills as I recall the events as he told that changed his life as well as the 174 passengers and crew of the DC10 flight 232 who survived his plane crash on. Unfortunately 111 died. The July 19, 1989 airline crash was the bases for several movies including Fearless which was filmed near the town I live in, Bakersfield California.
Somewhere over the Midwest on a flight from Denver to Chicago when an engine failed and all 3 of the hydraulics systems also had failed which caused the plane to be a flying brick with no way to alter course. The hydraulics allow the plane to turn, slow down bank and other things we take for granted. The pilot managed to change the planes course by using the throttle giving the engine thrusts, turning right by gunning the left engine and so on. They were followed on radar by worried ground controllers well apprised of the situation and wondering just where the plane would finally run out of fuel and crash. The plane was descending in a corkscrew pattern and appeared to be destined to crash land at Sioux City, Iowa airport. The plane came in too fast as there was no way to slow it down. The wing hit first and eye witnesses said the plane cartwheeled down the runway and ended up in a cornfield. Many passengers walked away from the crash. I will never forget the pile of twisted metal that the pilot showed a slide of saying he was somewhere in the middle. It looked like something left over after a trash compacter was done. Miracles still happen but I think this pilot should be remembered along with the Hudson river pilot as miracle workers.

No comments:

Post a Comment