RIP Al Haynes

Al Haynes, pilot of Flight 232 that crash landed in Sioux City in 1989, dies at age 87

He did a hell of a job of flying.

Al is God’s co-pilot.

He (and his flight deck crew, plus a DC-10 flight instructor who happened to be a passenger) did indeed do a hell of a job.

I remember exactly what I was doing when I heard about it. I was still living in Des Moines, working as a second-shift data entry operator, listening to NPR on my Walkman, when the local announcer said, “We interrupt this broadcast of ‘All Things Considered’ for a local news bulletin.”

When the first responders saw that plane crash, they couldn’t believe ANYONE survived it, let alone walked away unhurt and in some cases not even dirty.

I happen to be at training for a new type rating this week, which means I’m in a simulator having all kinds of emergencies thrown at me. It gets tiresome, but thinking of Haynes is a good reminder why we do it.

I still remember getting tears in my eyes hearing eye witnesses talk about seeing survivors walking out of the cornfield and not believing what they were seeing. That and the baby that survived.

This. Haynes is the most famous name from that incident, but he was part of a team who showed what is possible with crew resource management. From one of his speeches:

An old-school captain would have said “all of you shut up while I figure this out,” and would have promptly crashed. Haynes had the humility to know he wasn’t the resident expert on what was happening, and that they needed to work together to achieve the best outcome they could.