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


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


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