Air Stunts Pilots Pulled That Saved Many Lives

Aviation is a risky business. Getting on a plane means placing your life in the hands of a pilot and that can be a scary thing. Knowing that in the cockpit are experienced and skilled pilots makes all the difference. There are numerous cases where the quick thinking and some amazing maneuvers by pilots certainly saved the day and the lives of the passengers and crew aboard. Here are five of commercial aviation’s narrow escapes and the stunts pilots pulled to save many lives. 

1. Capt. David Cronin

After the events of February 24, 1989 aboard the United Flight 811, Captain David Cronin was deemed a hero. About fifteen minutes into the flight from Honolulu bound for Auckland, a cargo door blew out over the Pacific Ocean. This created a gaping hole on the side of the aircraft which caused decompression. In a battle for survival, the pilots had to contend with two damaged engines, a damaged wing and many inoperable systems. Cronin extended the landing gear in time and made an emergency landing at Honolulu. Through his efforts, 337 passengers and crew survived. 

2. Capt. Eric Moody

British Airways Boeing 747 flight BA 009 was being flown by Captain Eric Moody on June 24, 1982, on route from London to Auckland, New Zealand, when at 37,000, the aircraft lost power from all four engines. This was the effect of a cloud of volcanic ash from the Mount Galunggung volcano eruption. Moody was able to glide the plane to 12,000 feet as he approached Jakarta for an emergency landing. The molten ash solidified and some broke off, allowing the engines to start and the plane regained power. The captain landed the plane safely after an engine failed again. That day, the lives of 263 passengers were spared.

3. Capt. Tadeusz Wrona

Captain Tadeusz Wrona successfully made an emergency landing of a Boeing 767 with 231 passengers at the airport in Warsaw on November 1, 2011. The plane was traveling from Newark, New Jersey when there was a hydraulic leak. The leak was so severe that it appeared like the landing gear hydraulic fluid was completely gone. Captain Wrona took the decision to circle above the airport to allow emergency personnel to prepare for a crash landing. The captain performed a belly landing and although the plane was damaged beyond repair, everyone escaped unscathed.

4. Capt. Alfred C. Haynes

On July 19, 1989, United Flight 232 departed Denver when the engine mounted to the tail exploded. Under normal circumstances the plane could have been flown with its two other engines; however, Captain Alfred had almost no control over the aircraft. The hydraulic lines that allowed the pilots to steer and regulate the aircraft’s speed were cut by debris from the explosion. The captain altered altitude by running one engine at a time and making steering adjustments for long enough to land at the Sioux Gateway Airport. The plane broke and went up in flames. It was a miracle that 185 of the 296 passengers survived.

5. Capt. Chesley B. ‘Sully’ Sullenberger

Airbus A320, often known as “Flight 1549,” was being piloted by Captain Sullenberger as it traveled from New York LaGuardia to Charlotte/Douglas International Airport in Charlotte on January 15, 2009. They hit a flock of birds which damaged the engines which then burst into flames. The plane was going down. Thanks to the incredible and masterful work of Captain Sullenberger, the plane was glided and landed in the Hudson River. The captain was considered a hero for saving all passengers and crew.






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