Thursday, January 15, 2009

Hey, It Was Routine, Man

The efforts of Flight 1549 pilot“Sully” Sullenberger in saving all the passengers after a crash into the Hudson River today brings to mind an interview I did with my old pal Leo Lacoste a few years ago. I was talking to Leo as part of a book project. He had been the pilot of three different B17 bombers that were shot down during World War II and I was trying to pull out of this old pro what it was like to go down.

Leo spent a long career after the war as an airline pilot, so he could talk the talk--the flat, unemotional, just-the-facts-ma'am talk.

He was going through this monotone account--"hot oil splattered on my face and the window had been shot out, so there was quite a bit of wind; my co-pilot was dead, and I was working to control the plane as the port wing dipped"--and I simply wasn't believing that he had no emotional reaction.

"Tell me how it felt," I pleaded time after time, almost yelling. He finally said, "Dan, it was a routine plane crash."

No comments:

Post a Comment