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Wednesday
Oct052016

Who would you fly with?

Every once in a while there comes a movie that is well worth your time to see.  Normally I wouldn’t take this column to review a movie, but in this case there’s more to it than that.

The movie is Sully, starring Tom Hanks.  Now that’s a good start, I mean when was the last bad Tom Hanks movie you watched? But then add Laura Linney and Aaron Eckert, and oh, and I guess it’s worth mentioning that Clint Eastwood is the director! Grand slam!

So the plot of this little gem of cinematography we all know.  After all, it’s the true story of Captain Chelsea “Sully” Sullivan, the US Airways pilot who successfully landed his Airbus A320 on the Hudson River in New York City, shortly after takeoff from LaGuardia, January 15, 2009.  I remember that day well, when the first reports came in describing a crash into the Hudson, as we all held our collective breaths, waiting to hear the number of survivors.  Spoiler warning; all 155 passengers and crew survived! But this doesn’t spoil the movie, because we already knew that.

What is remarkable about this movie though is the back story about Sully’s experience as a pilot dating back tom his teenage years, his career in the military and commercial aviation, and the exceptional nerve it took that day, to make the split second decision and land safely on the surface of the Hudson River, saving all on board. And even more remarkable was the government’s response, thru the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board)! Their efforts to find him guilty of negligence, even though he was considered a hero by the passengers and their families, and all of New York, was chilling, to say the least. Their sanctimonious attitude and shoddy research were brought to bear upon Sully with the full weight and power of the mighty federal government. No spoiler here, I won’t tell you what happens, go see the movie.

After the both tears and laughter, you’ll be glad you did. And stay till the credits are all done too…all the way to the end, a real treat awaits.

But now I’m going to take you down a different flight path if you will.

I walked out of this film with a unique, maybe even a little weird, thought, which I first shared with my wife, then the theater manager Nathan, as we exited. After watching this terrific reenactment of one of the most heroic and talented feats in aviation history, I asked myself; if Sully wasn’t the pilot that day, who would I rather have in the cockpit of US Airways Flight 1549, Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump?

I wondered, considering not just the physical attributes and health of the two candidates, but about the nerve it took to bring that plane down safely atop the frigid waters of the Hudson. By the way, the NTSB kept referring to the crash into the Hudson; Sully corrected them with, “you mean the landing on the water”.  Well, when it comes to calm, practiced judgement, I concluded that I’d pick Trump, hands down over Hillary.

Hillary has demonstrated over and over her unwillingness to accept responsibility for anything, as in Benghazi. She would likely blame the entire incident on the airline, the flight attendants, or possibly even the passengers. Trump on the other hand has presided over building skyscrapers, working with engineers and contractors, who hold in their hands the lives of those on the construction site, but also the finished building. In this type of enterprise there is no room for “close enough” or excuses, engineering and construction must be precise, and the entire process is built upon accountability. Plus I figured, Trump owns enough airplanes and helicopters, he’s probably even been up front a time or two.

But the allegory is a good one I think. Who can best bring our economy and our security in for a safe landing?  I would rather fly with Trump any day! 

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