0180 – FF Captain Sully

I feel that it is vital to take a look at situations and seek to gain understanding even though those situations may seem to be outside our realm.  Today’s Friday Films aren’t to much of a stretch from self-defense, however they may not fit into your typical violent encounter mindset type video.  Take a look at the first link.  I’ve done something a bit different today and stripped the audio from the videos as the majority of the content today is auditory in nature.

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As we listen to the first video we can draw some pretty important conclusions about why Captain Sully may have been so successful in what he did.  It has to do with EXPERIENCE.  Let me run the info back by you.  40 years flying all types of planes.  19000 hours logged.  Military experience including being an Air Force Academy Grad and an F4 fighter pilot.  Sully also spent time as an instructor teaching his peers.  The man had experience.

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The second clip is the actual radio traffic between Sully and the ATC .  Notice the tone of Sully’s voice throughout the communications.  It is simple and matter of fact, smooth and under control.  This is the type of relaxed composure we want when we are faced with extreme adversity.  This type of calm can be shown by lots of people in lots of really tense situations and the question has to be asked, how do you get the ability to remain calm in the face of adversity.  Good question and I don’t think there is one right answer, but here are some of my thoughts on it:

  • You are born with it
  • You cultivate it through lifestyle
  • You train it
  • You gain it through experience

The next clip starts out with two very profound statements so don’t miss the beginning of the next clip, and don’t let Couric’s ridiculous questions distract you from the info either!

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Initial Feelings:

  • Knew the situation was very bad
  • Disbelief that the situation was occuring
  • Normalcy Bias (Jack Spirko, TSP) This isn’t much different than LEO, Armed Citizen violent encounter
  • Acceptance of fate (not going to end undamaged on a runway,) but not surrender to fate.  Accepting that fate has prepped him specifically for this situation and he is in it for a reason.


  • 60 seconds from bird stike to ditch
  • Filled with action
  1. Decision making (didn’t get distracted with options, went with his gut, Blink)
  2. Flying the plane
  3. Emergency procedures
  4. Communicate with crew
  5. Communicate with tower
  6. Landing the plane
  • Once the decision was made, complete focus was placed on executing the decision
  1. Wings perfectly level
  2. Nose up
  3. Slow enough not to destroy the plane
  4. Fast enough not to stall and fall out of the sky
  5. Make it all happen at exactly the same time

Not so different from a violent encounter

  1. Hit as hard as we can
  2. Hit as often as we can
  3. Strike vulnerable targets
  4. Make it all happen as fast as we can

Sully executed perfectly.  He talks about forcing the calm upon himself and that it simply took concentration to do so.  He had the training, the experience and the confidence to execute.  He executed.

Final clip provides some awesome insight into to SNS reaction that Sully experienced and does a good job of recapping some important info.

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SNS Reaction:

  • Heart rate increase (most likely a result of the hormone dump)
  • Narrowing of his vision (tv or increased visual acuity)

Confidence allowed him to synthesize his skills, knowledge, judgement, training and experience into a solution for a unique problem that he never specifically trained for.

Sully reiterates the shock he felt but important is the verbiage he uses:

“Greatest challenge of my life.” has such a positive connotation.

Favorite concept in all of the videos

“I never knew which 3 1/2 minutes my career would be judged on.”


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Follow Up on Pool Safety

CPSC Drain Cover Recall

It appears that The CPSC is questioning the test results of some independent labs who were responsible for pool drain cover safety tests.  If you own a pool or are responsible for the maintenance of a pool, please read the article and check your drain covers.


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