Friday, January 16, 2009

Miracle On The Hudson

Miracles are wonderful things. What happened in New York City yesterday, when a US Airways plane crash-landed in the Hudson River and everyone survived, is a miracle.

According to Philosopher David Hume a miracle is "a transgression of a law of nature by a particular volition of the Deity, or by the interposition of some invisible agent."

In this case it was the interposition of a “visible” agent, the pilot, and I'm sure, the Deity.

I am a private pilot. I have studied aerodynamics and practiced flight emergency procedures. Most of my flight training and experience of several hundred hours of logged flight time took place to and from and in the New York air space system. I have flown the Hudson River air corridor dozens of times. Teterboro, a couple of miles west of the Hudson was my home airport.

The intricacies of a crash landing in water are immense. Everything about the control and configuration of the aircraft has to be perfect. Angle of descent. Flair. Airspeed. Flaps. This time, this day, in New York everything was precise.

Pilot C. B. "Sully" Sullenberger and his flight crew are heroes and what they accomplished is a miracle.

We need miracles these days. We need to talk about them with our children to remind them and even ourselves that miracles can happen and do. We need our heroes too. Heroes are everyday people doing extraordinary things and often times that means giving up their life to save another.

In the act of heroism, as Joseph Campbell might say, the hero sees the other and oneself as the same and interconnected. What happens to the one happens to both in the moment of the experience.

Bravo New York. Bravo NYPD, NYFD, New York Waterways, and all the other agencies that responded with skill and success to save all souls on board.

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