Mayday (2013) s17e06 Episode Script

Storming Out

- Then I remember a very hard impact.
We hit the ground.
NARRATOR: A commuter flight slams into a North Carolina neighbourhood.
What has just happened to us? Somehow, the crew survives to explain what happened.
The problem was the weather.
(THUNDER CLAPS) All of a sudden they ran into this rain shaft.
But for investigators, weather alone can't explain the deadly impact.
Rain did not cause this crash.
Flaps to 15.
Down! Push it down! Wait.
Stop the tape.
Did he just say "Push it down"? Play it again.
- We replayed that a dozen times.
- Down! Push it down! Did he really say that, and what did he mean by that? (THEME MUSIC) NARRATOR: USAir Flight 1016 is en route from Columbia, South Carolina, to Charlotte, North Carolina.
USAir 1016, good evening.
Climb and maintain 1-2000-12.
1-2000, USAir 1016.
NARRATOR: Captain Mike Greenlee is one of USAir's top pilots.
He's an Air Force veteran who still flies fighter jets in the reserves.
I believe he flew the F4, and then he flew the F16.
- Ten.
- The first officer, Phil Hayes, is a seasoned pilot who's dreamt of flying since he was a boy.
And I went for a ride in an airplane when I was about 15 and - 14 or 15 - and the bug bit and I wanted to fly after that.
So, how old are you, Mike? 38.
How about yourself? I'll be 42 on 26 July.
Is that right? I had you figured about 35.
- Did you really? - Oh, yeah.
I knew there was something I liked about you.
This is the first time the two pilots have flown together.
Mike was a very affable, very likeable fella, and we hit it off right away.
Many of the 52 passengers are travelling for summer holidays.
This was a Saturday prior to July 4 so there were a lot of leisure travellers.
Can I offer you a snack? Flight attendant Richard DeMary has been in the job for two years.
He enjoys his work so much that he looks for ways to get more hours.
I picked up this flight as part of a series of flights over a number of days.
It was a three-day trip with multiple legs each day.
Today's flight to Charlotte is on board a DC-9, one of the many aircraft types Greenlee and Hayes have flown.
What kind of airplanes you fly corporate? A few Lear, Cessna Citation, King Air Beechcraft.
- Oh, that's nice equipment.
- Yeah, yeah, pretty nice.
Flight crews at USAir typically were always very professional.
And a lot of piston bangers, - Navajos and that stuff.
- Yeah? I got a lot of time in Navajos, Aztecs, Senecas.
With that, there was a lot of trust in the individuals that you were working with, both from a flight attendant perspective as well as the pilots.
The USAir crew is on its fourth leg of the day.
They started out this morning in Pittsburgh, flew to New York City, then Charlotte and onto Columbia.
Now they're on their way back to Charlotte.
There was no weather.
There were no thunderstorms.
There was nothing.
It was a completely benign, beautiful summertime day.
The DC-9 is now roughly 15 minutes from landing.
Ladies and gentlemen, we're 40 miles from Charlotte.
At this time we'd like to ask the flight attendants to secure the cabin for arrival.
Here, let me clear this away for you.
The flight between Columbia and Charlotte was normal.
It was short.
You know, even though it was a 50 minute flight, the actual flight time was much less than that.
As they approach the airport, the skies begin to darken.
There's more rain out there than I thought there was.
We could see one little - what we refer to in the aviation business as a 'build-up'.
It has a little rain in it.
But it's not anything to be concerned about.
It's just a little shower.
Mike reached over and turned the radar on.
It looks like it's sitting just off the edge of the airport.
The radar shows some rain directly ahead.
Charlotte, USAir 1016.
USAir 1016, go ahead.
We're showing a little build-up here.
It looks like it's sitting on the radial.
About how far ahead are you looking, 1016? About 15 miles.
The controller explains that he'll be directing them away from the rain shower.
I'll turn you just before you get there, about five miles northbound.
- OK.
- Good call.
USAir Flight 1016 is now less than ten minutes from its destination.
USAir 1016, Charlotte.
Maintain 4,000.
Runway 1-8 right.
4,000 for the right side.
That's 1-11 and 3 and 181.
The pilots are ready for final approach.
The cabin's down.
Seatbelt sign's on.
Hydraulics on.
Altimeters, flight instruments 30-01, set.
- Set.
- As promised, the controller turns Flight 1016 away from the storm.
USAir 1016, turn 10 degrees right, descend and maintain 2,300.
Vectors to visual approach to 1-8 right.
The controller said, "Descend to 2,300 feet.
" He said, "I'll turn you at the marker for the visual approach.
" Ten right.
Down 2,300, USAir 1016.
Another confirmation that there was absolutely nothing going on.
At that point in the landing phase, the cabin had been secured and we were in our seats ready for landing.
Gear down.
Flaps 40, please.
40 flaps.
Suddenly this very heavy rain seemed to come from nowhere.
It did not go light rain, moderate rain, heavy rain, extreme.
It didn't do that.
It was just all of a sudden like you're in - under a waterfall.
Here come the wipers.
That's10 knots right there.
Now we're like, "Oh, what is happened?" You know, what changed? In other rain events you can see out the window.
You can make things out.
This rain completely obstructed any view out of the window.
OK, you're plus 20.
Visibility had been reduced and, with this heavy rain, Mike and I made the same decision at about the same time.
- Let's go around.
- Take it around.
Go to the right.
Let's play it safe.
So I reached up and pushed the power up, started a right turn, and at this point Mike picked up the microphone and he said USAir 1016's on the go.
USAir 1016, understand you're on the go, sir.
Fly runway heading, climb and maintain 3,000.
It's what pilots call a missed approach.
You have the noise of the engines.
You have the feeling on your body that you're climbing.
Go-arounds are not that unusual.
I've been in go-arounds before.
NARRATOR: But this is not a normal go-around.
All of a sudden the aircraft wasn't flying anymore.
It's just falling, and we were losing airspeed very, very rapidly.
- It was very alarming.
This was not part of a go-around.
Firewall power! Phil Hayes jams the throttles to maximum.
We're sinking and I'm preparing myself.
I remember the stick shaker, and I remember the ground proximity warning system go off.
- It said, "Pull up.
Pull up.
Pull up.
And then I remember a very hard impact and we hit the ground.
We were sliding along the ground and I started hearing the snapping of trees.
And the left wing sheared off.
And the cockpit came to rest in the middle of a road.
NARRATOR: USAir Flight 1016, destined for Charlotte, North Carolina, has slammed into the ground less than a mile from the airport.
Flight attendant Richard DeMary has no idea how he survived.
There was a tremendous amount of disbelief and disorientation.
And it took a few seconds to get my bearings.
And I should say that I was scared.
You know, there was a lot of fear because of the smoke and the heat coming off of the airplane.
And I remember the real thought of, "I've survived the accident.
I don't wanna die afterwards.
" First officer Phil Hayes has also survived the crash.
I remember looking to my left and there was nobody in the captain's seat.
And in my mind I know I was trying to put things together, like what has just happened to us? And so I got out of my harness and crawled out of the opening and I found Captain Mike Greenlee tending to one of the flight attendants who had been injured.
You know, the full realisation that we had been in an accident hit home.
So I thought, I gotta do something to help.
So I start to yell, "Release seatbelts and get out.
Release seatbelts and get out.
Release seatbelts and get out.
" Good evening.
Emergency workers in Charlotte, North Carolina, spent this Sunday pulling bodies from the wreckage of a USAir jet that crashed there last night.
The crash of Flight 1016 is the first accident involving a major airline in North Carolina in 20 years.
Both pilots and the cabin crew have survived.
But of the 52 passengers, 37 are dead.
As I looked back at the wreckage, it was just very surreal.
How could this have happened to us when the day was so benign? There was no weather.
There was no threat.
How could this have happened? Greg Feith, senior investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board, will lead the investigation.
Any time you go to an airplane accident site, a crash site, there's always this wave of emotion - I don't care how seasoned an investigator you are - because you know that people have been seriously injured or killed in that particular event.
And so, as the investigator in charge, you have to compartmentalise that because you can't get emotionally attached and still be able to do your job.
Examining the wreckage is the team's first task.
So what have we got? They must determine if a loss of engine power was a factor in the crash.
They examine the DC-9's two Pratt & Whitney power plants.
There are a variety of things that these power plant experts are gonna be looking for to determine if in fact there was some sort of operational issue, mechanical malfunction or failure with the engine or engines.
Right away, they spot something unexpected.
Look at that.
The thrust reverser on this engine is deployed.
Their examination of the right engine indicated that the thrust reverser was in the deployed position and that the thrust reverser on the left engine was in the stowed position, and of course that always starts the red flag up the pole, if you will, going, "Hmm, why is this one not in the same position as the other?" Because they should be symmetrical.
Thrust reversers are deployed on landing to help slow the plane down.
They work by redirecting the engines' high-powered exhaust gases forward.
If it happens in flight that's detrimental, because if it happens on one engine on a multi-engine airplane, you create an asymmetrical thrust situation.
Maybe that's what brought this flight down.
Like Lauda Air 004.
Three years earlier in Thailand, Lauda Air Flight 4 crashed, killing 223 people.
A thrust reverser was to blame.
We've had thrust reversers deploy in-flight and, depending on the speed of the aircraft, you can literally break that engine right off the aircraft.
Closer investigation reveals abrasion marks on the metal of the right-side reverser, marks that suggest a heavy impact with the ground.
It's an important clue.
Further analysis leads to a definitive answer.
Investigators know exactly when and how the right-side reverser opened.
They were able to make a determination that the reverser on that right engine, even though it was deployed, happened during the course of the impact sequence and did not happen in-flight.
At least we know it wasn't thrust reversers.
Eliminating one potential cause is a step forward for investigators, but they're still a long way from understanding what brought down USAir Flight 1016.
Keep looking through this wreckage.
See if you can find any clues.
I'm gonna speak with the crew.
Perhaps the pilots can shed some light on what happened.
The impact broke my foot and cut my head open, and so I was in the hospital about three days, I believe, and when we were released from the hospital we were taken to a hotel.
First officer Phil Hayes meets with the NTSB.
- Thank you so much for seeing us today.
- You're welcome.
We just have a few questions.
This won't take long.
We recognise that this is not a pleasant time for them.
They've been through what is most likely the most difficult professional event they've ever been through.
On the day of the crash, can you tell us what happened? - The problem was the weather.
- Tell me about the weather.
Flaps 40, please.
40 flaps.
All of a sudden they ran into this rain shaft.
We lost all visibility.
Take it around.
Go to the right.
That's when the captain called for the first officer, who in this case was the flying pilot at the time, to execute a go-around.
They were gonna climb to 3,000 feet, roll to the right to turn right and of course you're bringing the power up at the same time.
Next thing I knew, the aircraft was falling.
It's a terrible feeling to feel the aircraft fall and you realise it isn't flying anymore.
Why did you decide to fly into the storm in the first place? Pilots usually avoid thunderstorms, because they can produce violent air currents that can cause turbulence or even damage the aircraft.
You're always respectful of thunderstorms.
The weather there was growing, that was the big thing.
And it was growing quickly.
That's a key indicator that the situation's deteriorating.
Well, air-traffic control told us the weather was nothing to worry about.
And the controllers really did not say anything to us about it.
I'll tell you what, USAir 1016.
You may get some rain just south of the field.
There might be a little coming off the north.
In fact, some rain was misleading.
It wasn't some rain.
It was a very heavy thunderstorm.
Investigators have learned that air-traffic control failed to warn the crew of Flight 1016 that there was a powerful storm in their path.
They mistakenly believed that it would be safe for them to land.
The question now is why? Investigators need to understand why air-traffic control in Charlotte didn't warn USAir Flight 1016 about a fierce storm over the airport.
Oh, hey.
Good to meet you.
The air-traffic controllers had more information and they could see and they had been watching this thunderstorm for much longer than the flight crew had.
So we knew very early on it was gonna be one of the central areas of focus to understand it.
Why did you tell the pilots the weather was good enough to land in? The weather reports told us it was.
The controller reveals that he relied on a bulletin from the National Weather Service.
It showed that conditions were well within limits for a safe landing.
The reports on the field were light winds.
There had been some rain on and off.
There's nothing to key them to say that this is an unsafe condition and that they shouldn't continue to fly it.
I even asked a pilot who landed four minutes earlier how it was.
USAir 983, how was the ride on your final approach? Smooth.
USAir 983.
USAir 1016, previous flight just exited the runway.
He said it was a smooth ride.
It was fine, no problems.
That's pretty significant in that, all the information that crews have, real-time information from people flying for their airline carries a lot of weight.
The weather bulletin issued at 18:36 was indeed correct - conditions were clear to land.
But minutes later, the skies over the airport opened up and heavy rain poured down.
Take it around.
Go to the right.
USAir 1016's on the go.
USAir 1016, understand you're on the go, sir.
Fly runway heading, climb and maintain 3,000.
At the same time, the controller acknowledges the crew's missed approach.
USAir 1016, understand you're turning right? Go ahead, 1016.
He never gets a response.
By the time I got to the next bulletin, it was too late.
Listen, I really appreciate your help.
If I have more questions, - is it alright if I call you, alright? - Sure.
It's now clear to investigators that weather conditions at the Charlotte Airport changed very quickly.
What's unclear is why the controller's weather report failed to forecast the change.
Let's see what we have here.
They study the reports that the National Weather Service issued for Charlotte Airport that day.
'Light rain showers'.
'Heavy rain showers'.
It seems the weather service correctly identified the change in conditions, but then they make an important discovery.
It took two minutes for the weather service to transmit the new information in an updated bulletin.
The problem came from the air traffic controllers not having a full body of information from the National Weather Service.
Flaps 40, please.
So they weren't providing real-time information to the flight crew.
40 flaps.
They were very delayed in providing essential information that would have assisted this crew in their decision-making as they progressed towards the airport.
Weather radar images soon lead to another discovery.
This is crazy.
Look at that.
There are two storm cells moving in here.
As the USAir pilots were trying to avoid one storm formation 18:40.
- .
another storm cell - 18:42.
- .
suddenly increased in intensity.
- They were blindsided.
Here come the wipers.
The late weather report left the crew unprepared for the sudden downpour.
The critical question now - was the rainstorm strong enough to knock Flight 1016 out of the sky? We had to look at that to see if in fact this heavy rain shower had any kind of cause or contributing factor in this accident.
NASA has studied this.
Investigators review NASA research that shows heavy rain can stick to a wing, increasing drag and increasing the chance of an aerodynamic stall.
If the volume of rain striking the aircraft is sufficient, it will disrupt the smooth airflow and decrease the efficiency, the lifting capability of the wing.
Testing has shown that the amount of rain needed to stall a wing and cause a crash is huge, 30 to 40 inches per hour.
Investigators examine precipitation data from the day of the crash.
They want to know just how bad the rain really was.
What they find is surprising.
The rate of precipitation during the downpour was only 10 inches per hour.
Not enough to bring the plane down.
We were able to determine that there was a negligible effect of this heavy rain shower on the performance of the airplane.
Rain did not cause this crash.
If it wasn't the sudden downpour that caused Flight 1016 to fall out of the sky what did? Can you bring up the FDR? Evidence recovered from USAir 1016's flight data recorder is now ready to be examined.
So, what have we got? The device captures critical indicators such as airspeed, altitude and the position of key flight controls.
Can you blow this up? Almost immediately, they come across something puzzling.
Look at that.
The data shows that seconds before impact the airspeed inexplicably begins to fluctuate.
The airspeed's all over the place.
That's 10 knots right there.
First, it falls by 10 knots Whoa.
then it increases by 30 knots.
- OK.
You're plus 20.
- You could see the change on the airplane because the airspeed started jumping.
Airspeed is the speed on an aircraft relative to the air it's flying through.
If the plane encounters a tailwind, airspeed drops because the rate of airflow over the wings decreases.
A headwind has the opposite effect, increasing airspeed by accelerating the airflow over the wings.
What happens is you have a performance increase because you're flying into a headwind.
Maybe the wind brought this plane down.
Could strong winds be the culprit? To answer that question , investigators will need precise wind data from the time of the crash.
Yeah, thank you.
- Like dozens of other US airports - One here.
Charlotte Airport is equipped with a system of special wind sensors.
One here.
One here.
Here, here and here.
Six in total.
The low-level wind-shear alert system is a number of anemometers, wind speed and direction sensors that are placed in various places around and near the airport.
And they compare the winds at one part of the airport with winds at another part.
Run it.
Investigators hope the combined data from all six sensors at Charlotte Airport will tell them just how dangerous the winds were on the day of the crash.
There was light wind which was not at all severe.
They discover that top wind speeds were not very high that day.
Wait a second.
Look at that wind.
It's blowing all over the place.
But the changes in wind speed and direction were extreme.
Look at that.
Less than two minutes before the accident, four of the six sensors signalled a weather event known as wind shear.
Wind shear is a sudden shift in wind direction and velocity that can cause a plane's airspeed to become dangerously erratic.
What makes the wind shear events near the airports at low levels very hazardous is because the aircraft coming in for landing have very low airspeeds and are close to the ground.
So there's not much room for managing the energy state of the aircraft.
Investigators may finally be close to a breakthrough.
Let's get this data to NASA, see what they make of it.
But they won't know if it was wind shear that brought down the DC-9 until experts analyse the weather data in detail.
NASA meteorologist Fred Proctor gets the assignment.
I was asked by the NTSB to help them understand what happened in this event and whether or not wind shear was a factor in the accident.
OK, let's see what the data tells us.
Adding temperature.
Using a weather simulator, Proctor enters the airport wind data along with other key variables.
I used a model that I had developed earlier and used in wind shear studies to recreate the thunderstorm that occurred on that day.
That should be it.
Let's check out this simulation.
And so from there I began to piece together or reconstruct the accident event.
The simulation renders the forces within the storm - in precise detail.
- That's incredible.
Proctor makes a startling discovery.
The DC-9 didn't just encounter wind shear.
It flew into something even more deadly.
NASA meteorologist Fred Proctor now has the complete picture of the violent weather event that blindsided USAir 1016.
That's no wind shear.
That's a microburst.
A microburst is a strong low-level downdraft that spreads out at the ground and creates strong, low-level wind shear.
The microburst downdraft hits the ground with tremendous force, spreading out in all directions and creating wind shear.
You can think of it as suspending a cold block of air like an anvil and then pulling that support out from under it.
When it starts down, it has enormous force.
When you hit the shear, it's like you're coming to the top of a rollercoaster and then it's like the bottom drops out.
It has long been known that these powerful downdrafts can be lethal for aircraft during take-off or landing.
There were a number of accidents in the '60s and in the '70s that were attributed to a microburst or wind shear type environment.
We just didn't know what to call it then.
We hadn't had a lot of information.
Nobody really studied it.
In 1985, a microburst caused the crash of Delta Airlines Flight 191 at Dallas/Fort Worth, 135 people died, spurring a major effort to find ways to reduce the threat.
Following Delta 191, NASA and a number of people within the industry started to study thunderstorms and this microburst, and they found that the microbursts were far more prevalent and numerous than previously thought.
The NASA simulation not only confirms that the DC-9 was hit by a microburst, it reveals that it was one of the most powerful researchers have ever seen.
This wind shear event would have been in the top 1% of most intense microbursts that we had looked at.
I've only seen maybe one or two cases where microburst wind shear was actually stronger.
Investigators now know that it was an extreme microburst that brought down Flight 1016.
But their questioning doesn't end there.
- Firewall power! - They also know that pilots are trained to deal with such events.
If you do find yourself in a microburst, what do you do? Max power, get as much lift out of the wings as you can, try to keep it flying because you'll be through it fairly quickly.
Why weren't the pilots of Flight 1016 able to recover and avoid disaster? The NTSB gathers pilot training materials from USAir in the hope of answering that question.
Those pilots had been trained in the simulator to a variety of different types of scenarios that were based on accidents and incidents in the past.
And at this point crews had been trained.
In the event that they encounter a microburst, they were trained to traverse them safely and get out of there.
Investigators learn that USAir trains its pilots to do two things in the event of a microburst - apply firewall power and raise the nose into a climb.
If you're gonna do this wind shear environment escape manoeuvre, you go full power and nose up.
You get maximum performance to fly through this environment.
But did the pilots even know there was a risk of wind shear? We need to know what was going on in that cockpit.
Ready? OK, let's hear it.
Ladies and gentlemen, we're 40 miles from Charlotte.
Flight 1016's cockpit voice recording is the investigators' best hope of finding an answer.
There's more rain out there than I thought there was.
It looks like it's hitting just off the edge of the airport.
The recording reveals that the crew saw the storm forming over the airport.
The pilots were confident they could handle it.
If we have to bail out, it looks like we'll bail out to the right.
So I think we should be alright.
Chance of shear.
Heads up.
Roger that.
Captain Greenlee not only knew wind shear was possible, he was ready with a plan of action.
And they were fully prepared to abort the landing, perform what's called a 'missed approach', should the weather deteriorate at any point before they touch down.
Investigators also discover that when the microburst hit, the pilots initially did the right thing.
come from.
Max power.
Max power.
They initiated a normal missed approach and started to accelerate, pitched the nose up, increased the power on the engines, a normal, routine go-around.
- Max power.
- But as they continue listening, they hear something completely unexpected.
- Down! Push it down! - Wait, stop the tape.
Does he just say, "Push it down"? Play it again.
When we heard the captain say, "Down, push it down," we replayed that statement a dozen times, trying to put it in context as to did he really say that and what did he mean by that? Flaps to 15.
Push it down.
Based on their training, they should keep the plane's nose up to climb - Down - .
but the captain tells his first officer to drop the nose.
Down! Push it down.
We were all surprised when that came out.
None of us were expecting that.
It goes against what pilots are supposed to do in a wind shear escape manoeuvre.
If he didn't push the nose over, they wouldn't have flown into the ground.
(GROANS) Firewall power! Terrain.
What was he thinking? Investigators return to the USAir pilots, hoping to learn why they didn't keep the plane's nose up as they were trained to do.
Good to see you.
Listen, I need your help with one thing I just can't understand.
Why did the captain decide to push the nose down? II don't really remember.
I'm not sure if I have a clear recollection of that, of him saying that, or if it was or if I just remember listening to it on the cockpit voice recorder.
All I remember is that we were losing airspeed.
We could have stalled.
They were re-interviewed about that, why the captain called for that.
And I don't believe that we got an answer though that explained it.
And when we showed them the data and we let the captain and the first officer listen to the cockpit voice recorder, it's like, "That's you.
Why'd you say that?" "Don't know.
" - OK.
Well, thanks again.
- Tried to get precise information from them in an interview, proved to be pretty hard not because they were withholding anything, just because humans don't always remember great detail under high-stress events.
Next slide, please.
Investigators can only speculate about why the captain reacted as he did.
And the next slide, please.
It suggests he fell into the grip of a deadly phenomenon that aviators call spatial disorientation.
How we maintain our orientation in space is with our feet on the ground, basically force of gravity, and the fluid in our inner ear and primarily our eyes.
So when you look out at the horizon you know what is up, what is down.
- Whoa.
- OK, you're plus 20.
Take it around.
Go to the right.
USAir 1016's on the go.
In flight, extreme changes in speed, direction and altitude create physical forces on the body that can confuse the senses.
This may cause the pilot to lose track of the plane's orientation.
What happens with pilots is that, during the course of acceleration and deceleration, the fluid in their inner ear starts to move.
Down! Push it down! And so your body'll fool you because all you have is basically the body sensation.
He's coming in for his landing and he gets hit by the thunderstorm so he decides to do a missed approach but just as they're climbing, the microburst pushes the plane down.
It slows the airspeed.
Now, the captain believes that the plane is about to stall and that they're pointed up.
And a stall that close to the ground would have been catastrophic.
But in reality they're nearly level.
So he tells the first officer to push the plane down.
Down! Push it down! - For Captain Greenlee - Firewall power! .
it would have felt like the DC-9 was in a dangerously steep climb, a false sensation called 'somatogravic illusion'.
The somatogravic illusion is a very disconcerting illusion, because your body sensations can trick you.
He thought, "We're pitching too fast," when in fact it was perfect.
Had they been able to just sustain the flight for another 30 seconds, they'd have been out the back side.
In their final report, investigators highlight the need for prompt weather updates whenever there's a risk of thunderstorms.
They also call on the FAA to make sure that controllers are displaying the highest level of precipitation intensity on their radar screens and relaying that information to flight crews.
Finally, since the Flight 1016 tragedy, a more sophisticated type of radar called 'Doppler radar' has become standard equipment at most airports and onboard many aircraft.
You can see the intensities of the wind, the vertical and the horizontal velocities.
That's great information.
They have predictive wind shear, and so it can actually look and predict before the airplane arrives so that you get a much earlier warning.
Because of our increased understanding of wind shear and the development of new technologies, there has not been a case in the United States of a wind shear accident since the Charlotte event.
Both Mike Greenlee and Phil Hayes resumed their flying careers, eventually becoming pilots for American Airlines when American merged with US Airways in 2013.
As for flight attendant Richard DeMary, his brave actions in the immediate aftermath of the Flight 1016 crash earned him no fewer than five awards, including the US Department of Transportation's Award for Heroism.
I believe that, while I was the individual in the event, the awards really represent a recognition of the flight attendant profession, and that flight attendants play a role of extreme importance on each and every flight.