The Value of Experience

On Thursday night, I turned on the TV and saw that a US Airways plane had landed/crashed into the Hudson river adjacent to Manhattan Island. When I saw the footage of the plane after that unimaginable event, I could hardly believe that it didn’t explode or break apart in some way. Then they announced that all the passengers on board and the crew survived which was a miracle.


Many questions were running through my mind. How did this happen? Is it true that not one single person died? How did the pilot effectively land the plane in the water?

One of the most striking bits of information they shared was that although pilots have extensive training in the air in planes and also in simulators, they can’t actually practice landing a jetliner in water. That may sound obvious, but it wasn’t something we’d ever thought about before. After all if a plan hits the water it is going to be destroyed, right? Wrong.

This pilot, Sully Sullenberger, however was a man who has extensive flight experience, safety training, and knows what he is doing when he gets into the cockpit. We can’t underestimate the value of experience in that situation. It prepared him to be able to make wise decisions in a situation where most people would have panicked (click here to take a look at the book he wrote afterwards about the value of experience).

We have the opportunity to serve under Jim and Cheryl Eberline as our team leaders who have 30 plus years of experience under their belts. We are comforted by the fact that they are in charge and we have the opportunity to learn from people who are experienced and will be able to guide and direct our team through any tragedy, difficulty, uncertainty, etc just as effectively as the pilot for US Airways was able to land his plane.

Going to Uruguay isn’t near as scary as landing a plane in icy cold water. However there are many unknowns and uncertainties. We have confidence knowing that we have Jim and Cheryl as our team leaders and they know the value of experience.