‘Training saves lives’ will be hero pilot’s message at Opito energy conference

Jeff Skiles, who played a key role in the Miracle on the Hudson landing in New York in 2009, will speak at OPITO Global– the Safety and Competence Conference in Malaysia
Jeff Skiles, who played a key role in the Miracle on the Hudson landing in New York in 2009, will speak at OPITO Global– the Safety and Competence Conference in Malaysia

The co-pilot who helped land a stricken passenger flight on New York’s Hudson River will outline how safety training and teamwork saved lives during a global energy conference.

Jeff Skiles will deliver his presentation at the revamped Opito Global event – The Safety & Competence Conference.

In line with this year’s theme, Skilled for Safety, it is the only international conference focused on debating the issues around safety and competency in the energy sector. It brings together industry leaders, government bodies, regulators and training providers to share new thinking and best practice.

In 2009, US Airways first officer Mr Skiles, and captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, reacted instantly when their Airbus A320 flew through a flock of geese shortly after take-off causing a complete loss of power at 3,200ft.

Their actions during the unpowered ditching averted what could have been a tragic disaster. Within hours of the incident, it was being reported in the media as the “Miracle on the Hudson”, and a Hollywood movie followed starring Tom Hanks and Aaron Eckhart.

Mr Skiles said without the airline’s highly developed safety management system and mandatory training practices, events that day would have turned out very differently.

“It’s absolutely critical to be trained to the same standards and procedures when facing a time-critical emergency.

“Common procedures and training allow a team of experts to coalesce and operate as an expert team,” he said.

“Common safety standards and operating procedures for those operating in safety critical roles is vital. Sully and I had both worked at US Airways for decades but had never flown together before that trip. However, we were practised in our airline’s standard operating procedures and knew how to work as a team. Ultimately this strongly contributed to saving all 155 lives on board that flight.”

Opito chief executive John McDonald said: “To hear first-hand about his heroic experiences mid-air and how he and the crew handled one of the most terrifying crises, will resonate with those attending the conference as the energy sector’s workforce operates in one of the harshest and most hazardous environments.”

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