In the course of our lives, incidents whether insignificant or important happen every day and sometimes we have to seriously cope with them. This requires time to bring forth a good plan. Our brain tells us to go through a specific pattern to analyze an incident. We first look into it and recognize it. Then we go through assimilating the situation and understanding it in order to foresee the outcome and make the correct decision. This is only possible when time is our ally!
What happens if a situation or an incident requires an immediate action to avoid a serious setback? What would we do when time is against us? Sometimes, you have to act fast in emergencies, manage unexpected happenings and make quick choices. This occurs when you don’t have enough time to analyze sudden occurrences and must deal with them immediately. In this case, being alert is not an option anymore, it’s a must!
On January 15, 2009, Chesley Burnett Sullenberger III known as Sully, now a retired airliner captain, merely took off from LaGuardia Airport in New York City for Charlotte, North Carolina with 155 people on board including himself and the crew, when a bird strike, geese, caused huge damage to the aircraft and consequently lost all engine power. He has been instructed to return back to LaGuardia Airport and land in runway 13 or divert to Teterboro Airport.
The plane was losing altitude very fast endangering the lives of all people on board. Sully, aware of the imminent danger and worried about his passengers’ lives, had to act fast. The time was running against him narrowing all chances to reach LaGuardia or Teterboro Airports and land safely the aircraft. Sully needed another emergency plan, however he remained calm in order to make the correct choice. Despite the odds were overwhelmingly against him, he suddenly came up with unexpected decision and performed an emergency landing into the chilly Hudson River without the loss of a single life. Sully is definitely a “Decision-Maker Under Time Pressure”!
The plane didn’t crush. Usually it does. But it didn’t. Was it luck?
Coming up with this challenging decision was a matter of life or death situation. This action saved the lives of all people on board. And it only took the chilly Hudson River’s nearby boats and helicopters 24 minutes to rescue all the passengers of the ditched airplane.
That day, passengers of the US Airways flight 1549 couldn’t make it to their final destination and a new slogan rose from this incident, “Better late than a catastrophe”!
Making choices quickly and confidently under pressure is a great asset. We should also know that lacking from a good and long experience, and making choices quickly might be very risky. In this case, it’s not always safe acting fast and making sudden decisions unless we don’t have any other choice. Sometimes irreversible devastating results may come out of unfounded and reckless decisions.
Though Sully was a very experienced pilot, and an air accident investigator for the USAF and NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board), one tiny miscalculation would have killed all the passengers.
If you were Sully, would you go for the same choice?