Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Compare and contrast Captain Chesley Sullenberger and Captain Chafik Gharby

Captain Sullenberger's story:
"The pilot told investigators yesterday that in the few minutes he had to decide where to set down the plane on Thursday afternoon, he felt it was "too low, too slow" and near too many buildings to go anywhere other than the river, according to an account of his testimony to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).


With both engines out, flight attendants described complete silence in the cabin, "like being in a library", Higgins said. A smoky haze and the odour of burning metal or electronics filled the plane.


Sullenberger told investigators he immediately took over flying from his co-pilot and made a series of command decisions: returning to LaGuardia was out, as was aiming for the nearby Teterboro airport, as it would mean taking the jet over densely populated northern New Jersey.

"We can't do it," he told air traffic controllers. "We're gonna be in the Hudson."

The co-pilot kept trying to restart the engines, while checking off emergency landing procedures that the crew normally begins at 35,000 feet, rather than their altitude of 3,000ft (900 metres).

After guiding the gliding jet over the George Washington Bridge, Sullenberger picked a stretch of water near Manhattan's commuter ferry terminals to land. Rescuers were able to arrive within minutes."

Captain Gharby's story:
"Captain Chafik Gharby was at the controls of a plane belonging to the Tunisian charter airline Tuninter that crashed in the sea off the coast of Sicily four years ago. The 23 survivors were left swimming for their lives, some clinging to a piece of the fuselage that stayed afloat after the turbo-prop aircraft broke up on impact.

Gharby was at first hailed as a hero for having saved the lives of most of the passengers. But after an investigation, he, his co-pilot, and several Tuninter executives and technicians were charged with a range of offences including manslaughter.

The court in Palermo agreed with prosecutors that the chain of events that led to the crash began when a wrong part was installed in the ill-fated plane, a Franco-Italian ATR 72. A mechanic accidentally fitted an outwardly identical fuel gauge intended for the smaller ATR 42.

The plane took off from Bari, bound for the Tunisian island of Djerba, on 6 August 2005. As it flew over Sicily, its engines slowed to a halt, even though the instrument panel showed the aircraft had enough fuel left for the flight.

The judges accepted the prosecution case that the pilots, instead of making a crash landing on the sea, should have been able to glide the plane to Palermo airport. Instead, Gharby was said to have panicked. In cockpit recordings entered as evidence he was heard calling for the help of "Allah and Muhammad his prophet"."

Compare and contrast.

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