The Buoyancy of Experience – UPDATE

Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger of US Airways and President-elect Barack Obama of the USA, two case studies in the buoyancy of experience – or in other words, the ability to rise to the occasion when tested.

Yesterday afternoon Captain Sullenberger and his crew of US Airways Flight 1549 out of LaGuardia Airport in New York City performed magnificently as they landed their crippled A320 jetliner in the Hudson River and safely exacuated everyone off the plane.  

The following is from

New York’s mayor honored the people who coordinated a river rescue to save 155 passengers and crew after a US Airways plane went down in the Hudson River.  Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is an experienced pilot, honored civilian and uniformed rescuers Friday at City Hall, along with the airline’s chief executive officer, Doug Parker. 

The pilot of Flight 1549 was Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger III, 57, of Danville, Calif. Sullenberger is a former fighter pilot who runs a safety consulting firm in addition to flying commercial aircraft. Bloomberg said at the presser that he will hold on to a key of the city until he can personally present it to Sullenberger.

A true miracle to be sure, but one brought about in part by…

…the fact that a pilot with nearly 40 years of flying experience and his co-pilot, Jeff Skiles, a 23-year US Airways veteran, were at the controls.

Both men have endured rigorous and repetitive training in simulators covering all manner of possible flight problems and disasters. I would bet a water landing was the last thing either thought they would ever experience, but both were well-prepared and ready when the moment came.

We haven’t heard as much about the rest of the flight crew, but I suspect that they too were an experienced bunch, if the passengers’ descriptions of the orderly evacuation are any indication!

Why is it that we Americans honor (and indeed seek out) experience in our airline captain and crew, but we don’t value experience in our President?

Isn’t our country as important to keep safe as one Airbus A320 airliner full of passengers?

The Designated Conservative, even with many friends and neighbors of the Democrat and liberal persuasion to ask, doesn’t have an answer to this simple question.  

Worse yet, this is actually a problem for both Republicans and Democrats.  In 2008, Americans had to choose between two major party presidential candidates with absolutely no executive office experience under their belt!  While Senator John McCain certainly bested Senator Obama in the substantive life experience department, he had no more experience running a business, city, state, or other CEO experience than Obama. 

In the end, voters chose smoke and mirrors over substance – and as A Conservative Teacher notes, a smoke and mirrors Administration is what we’re going to get from President Obama in the months to come.

Click on “Comments” below to offer your thoughts about how we came to this place in our country’s history, and how we can make a change for the better.

UPDATE:  Security camera video of Flight 1549’s water landing and the orderly evacuation has been posted below, or can be seen here.  It is remarkable how calm the scene looks – which is a true testament to the skill of the entire crew on this plane.  Watching the video makes me think of a new and improved version of that snarky slogan (“It’s the economy, stupid“) Bill Clinton’s team used against President George H.W. Bush so successfully in the 1992 campaign:

“It’s the Experience, stupid!”

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Related Post:  REAGANOMICS REDUX 2010
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