Yesterday, I wrote something that probably tripled the total number of people in my life that have read something I wrote. Here it is.
Unfortunately, it was a quick note to Josh Marshall, and the first paragraph is badly phrased. I described the US Air ditching in the Hudson on Thursday afternoon as being less "last minute" than many commercial airliner ditchings, but that's not true. What is true is that the US Air plane was under impressive control throughout the ditching, partly due to the early decision to ditch and the planning that went into executing the water landing.
The landing itself was really something - this morning, the mayor's office released a surveillance video that shows a textbook ditch - tail down, as slow as possible. Capt. Sullenburger also appears to have kept the plane from spinning, which is even more impressive once you realize that the plane appears to have lost one engine as it landed, creating uneven drag on one side of the plane.
Sullenburger is a true hero, and saved a lot of lives on Thursday (he'll never buy a drink in a bar with another pilot in it again, I'll bet).
As someone else pointed out on TPM, a lot of credit also should go to the ferry captains who acted so quickly to get people off the plane. This video shows that there was only about four minutes from the time of the impact to the arrival of the first ferry, and there were two there in six minutes and four by nine minutes after the crash. All of those ferries got up to the plane slowly, safely, and ready to take passengers off, and that's not easy in a large vessel either.
Bravo to all. What a great story!