Tuesday, March 3, 2009

What makes a great pilot?

I'm looking forward to today's Talk of the Nation on National Public Radio. In the first hour, Chesley Sullenberger, the pilot of the US Airways jet that ditched in the Hudson, and John Nance, the long-time ABC News aviation analyst, as well as Matthew Wald of the New York Times, kick the topic around.

Nance, in particular, is one of my favorite interviews. Back in 1994, I did a week-long investigation into the practice of major airlines "hiding" the fact their regional carriers are different airlines and -- at that time -- operated to different safety standards.

Mike Brady, then the president of Express II Airlines (operating as Northwest Airlink) described a Hibbing, Minnesota crash and said, "everything the crew did on that flight was exactly to the textbook."

To which Nance replied, "I've yet to see an aviation textbook that ends in a crash."

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