Sully - Movie Review. One Pilot's Perspective. By Owen Zupp.

Owen Zupp - Saturday, September 10, 2016


For those yet to see the ‘Sully’ movie, I highly recommend it. I came away entertained and as an Airbus A320 pilot, pleased with the technical accuracy. Obviously the culling demands of screenwriting call for year-long investigations to be severely paraphrased and certain items such as the NTSB's questioning were tweaked for dramatic effect, but all in all, it is a great film. But I walked away with something more.

As a 50-something year old airline pilot, certain phrases particularly resonated with me. Such as, despite having a distinguished 40 year aviation career, Sully felt that he was now to be judged on a mere 208 seconds – the time between striking the birds and touching down on the Hudson River. I felt heavily for Sully at this point and considered my own career in light of his statement.

In aviation we are taught to never leave the door open for arrogance or complacency. It is a career dedicated to ongoing education and frequent self-critiquing, aware that there is no such thing as a perfect flight – we can always do better. It is not a depressing thought, but a challenge that pilots work towards their entire career. And it is that entire career aspect that the Sully movie rammed home to me.

Sully’s drama aboard Flight 1549 came in what one might consider the ‘twilight’ of his career, but the reality is that there is no room for twilight performances. The fare-paying passengers in the cabin of any airliner deserve the crew’s A-game regardless of the stage one’s career may have reached. There is no room for winding down and easing gently into the night.

Thousands of hours in the air serve to provide experience – a backbone of instinct that can be integrated with procedures and checklists, but can also serve to know when priorities need to change and decisions need to be made. This is nowhere more evident than in the efforts of Sullenberger and his First Officer over New York.

Subtle details in the film conveyed significant messages too. Sully requiring his uniform to be dry cleaned as a priority on the night of the event and his commitment to his health, jogging along the foreshore and through the streets of the Big Apple. Despite his senior age, career status and even the ditching on the Hudson, it was evident that he was still committed to maintaining his self-discipline.

His concern for his passengers, his anxiousness awaiting confirmation that all 155 souls on board were accounted for and recognising the efforts of his entire crew while maintaining his humble dignity throughout were all qualities that any aspiring or established pilot should strive for.

The sound of the flight deck warnings such as the ECAM chimes and the GPWS  would grab the attention of any pilot, but the calm manner of the crew should grab the attention of all that see this movie. Personally, this movie reaffirmed my choice of career, but also reminded me that there is no room for tapering off in personal standards until the brakes are parked for the very last time.

These are not necessarily the thoughts that every cinema-goer will sense or appreciate, nor should they. First and foremost, this film is an entertaining drama that proves that fact can be even more incredible than fiction. Personally, the portrayal on the big screen of the crew that ditched on the Hudson River reminded me that fate does not discriminate when it comes to call. Whether it be a pilot’s first flight or a final farewell, we should treat every day with the same respect and humility that this wonderful profession and the travelling public demands.


Purchase Owen's Books

Recent Posts


aviation author planes Boeing speaker QANTAS Airbus A380 aircraft accident Korean War Ansett Airbus A320 pilot jobs turning forty Kim Jong-un airlines flight training Sully the Movie australian aviation aviation blog Queenstown flying instructor flying blog Solo Flight Australia. P-51 Mustang comfort zone flight flying school Sully UAV 787 WW2 Malaysia Airlines airplane RAF aviation careers flying aeroplane blog safer flying airbus aviation writer aerospace RAAF PC-21 pilot pilot careers Without Precedent learn to fly airliner terrorism 737 Pearl Harbor airshow Around Australia flight choosing a flying school jabiru Battle of Britain landing an airplane plane crash ANZAC airbus A350 XWB QANTAS MH370 aviation jobs cost of flying warbird solo flight. australia pilot training flight school Down to Earth The Pilots Blog Australian Army careers in aviation airline Bush Pilot Dunkirk writer aircraft how to land an airplane Phillip Zupp September 11th Australian Aviation magazine airliner missing buying an aeroplane aviation story solo flight WW1 The Practical Pilot pilot suicide anzac day pilot blog best aviation blog flying training R-DX 9/11 Air France 447 buying an airplane 77 Squadron aviaton author Airbus A380 RAAF aviation best seller speaking popular aviation blog aviation journalist author September 11 Pilatus PC-21 Vietnam War owen zupp author solo flight australia aviator the pilot's blog 50 tales of flight writer's block student pilot QANTAS A380 aviation speaker most popular aviation blog Jabiru Aircraft how to land an aeroplane P2902 50 More Tales of Flight Hurricane aeroplane learning to fly owen zupp aviation aviation book


© Owen Zupp. All rights Reserved.                                             Admin . Privacy . Disclaimer                                            Website by Shot to Pieces . Powered by Blackroom