By CRAIG E. CAMPBELL
On Sept. 22, 1995, an E-3A Airborne Early Warning Aircraft Systems aircraft with 24 Canadian and US aircrew members onboard departed Elmendorf AFB on a routine mission.
Forty-two seconds after take-off the aircraft hit a flock of geese, destroying all four engines. The plane crashed less than a mile from the airbase, killing all on board.
Fast forward to Jan. 15, 2009: At 3:25 pm U.S. Airways Flight 1549 lifted off from LaGuardia Airport, New York, bound for Charlotte. With 150 passengers and a crew of five, it was to be a routine flight of just under two hours.
Two minutes into the flight, Flight 1549 struck a flock of geese. The Airbus 320 lost full power in both engines at an altitude less than 3,000 feet above the ground.
The pilot and co-pilot trimmed the plane for maximum glide, declared an emergency with air traffic control, and considered all alternatives.
There were only two options, return to LaGuardia or ditch in the Hudson River. The crew determined they could not make it back to LaGuardia, so the decision was made to make a water landing, later dubbed the “Miracle on the Hudson.”
During the accident investigation, the crew was questioned as to why they had not returned to LaGuardia, where emergency equipment had already been activated to respond.
What was learned is that human reaction time is always a factor in human activities. When flying a complex aircraft under emergency conditions, with multiple tasks that must be accomplished to safely operate the aircraft, it takes about 35 seconds to evaluate the situation and determine the best course of action. Captain Chesley Sullenberger evaluated the situation and made the correct determination that resulted no loss of life.
I have a friend who was a commercial pilot. He flew the Airbus 330. While flying the aircraft as co-pilot on a routine flight one afternoon from Seattle to Hong Kong, his aircraft experienced a bird strike in an engine at take-off. However, unlike US Airways 1549, neither engine failed. The gauges, while experiencing a short fluctuation, appeared normal.
The captain suggested they continue to Hong Kong. My friend the co-pilot considered all options and disagreed. Just because the gauges seemed fine and the engines appeared operating, there could be damage that would create an emergency later in flight, possibly over the open ocean without an emergency airport nearby. He recommended returning to Seattle out of caution about the unknown.
Upon landing it was verified that because of internal damage to the engine the flight would not have been able to safely make it to Hong Kong.
In this situation, my friend evaluated the situation, considered options, discussed them with his captain, and made a conservative recommendation that proved to be the right decision.
That is the kind of person Anchorage needs to be our next mayor. That person is Dave Bronson.
Despite what critics say, Dave is a person who handles critical events with the calm and analytical attitude we need in our city today. As a B-1 and B-52 aircraft commander, military leader, and commercial airline senior captain, Dave has the maturity and balanced temperament to make a great mayor. He will bring with him a team experienced in government and business to build an administration that reverses the spiraling destruction of Anchorage caused by six years of inept actions by the current mayor and an uber-liberal assembly.
He will establish a business council to guide him on changes necessary to revitalize our city after the crushing shut-down actions of the past year. He will work with non-profit and religious organizations to address the vagrancy problems head-on, no longer enabling homelessness, but providing alternatives to get people off the street and back into productive society.
Dave will not defund police, but rather will bolster efforts of law enforcement to make Anchorage a safe and secure community.
I didn’t write this piece to brag about Dave’s exceptional aviation skills, but rather to highlight his calm approach to problem solving using an analytical process based on facts, not emotion. Dave’s background is exactly what Anchorage needs to bring our city back as a vibrant, prosperous, and proud community. We need Dave Bronson as our next mayor.
Please vote for Dave to Save Anchorage.
Craig E. Campbell served on the Anchorage Assembly between 1986 and 1995 and later as Alaska’s Tenth Lieutenant Governor. He was the previous Chief Executive Officer and President for Alaska Aerospace Corporation. He retired from the Alaska National Guard as Lieutenant General (AKNG) and holds the concurrent retired Federal rank of Major General (USAF). Photo above by Christian Volpati, Wikimedia.