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


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


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