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Gray Structure


As The Rotor Turns...

Gray Structure
Blog 3/8/21


Wade Cook

Chief Pilot at 

PHI Health, LLC

As the Rotors Turn Blog edition 3/8/2021
Contribution credit to Wade Cook, Chief Pilot at PHI Health, LLC

Do you remember the name Chelsey Sullenberger?   Captain Sullenberger was in command of

US Airways flight 1549 that impacted a flock of birds on climb-out from New York’s LaGuardia

Airport (KLGA).  Multiple birds were ingested by the engines, which caused a dual engine loss-

of-thrust at approximately 2500ft AGL.  He and his co-pilot were forced to land the plane in the

Hudson River on January 15, 2009.  All crew and 155 passengers survived.


When asked, “how did you pull that off”, Captain Sullenberger was credited with saying that for

42 years I’ve been making regular, small deposits in this bank of experience, education, and

training.  On that January 15th, the balance was sufficient so I could make a very large

withdrawal.  It’s a cheeky analogy to savings, but the only way you build a sufficient savings

account of money, or experience, is to make routine small deposits.


I challenge you to seek to learn from every operation, spend time in the manuals during down

time, ask questions on topics you don’t feel comfortable with, etc.  Challenge your co-workers

and peers, call the instructors, do whatever it takes to gain experience even on days you don’t

fly.    You always want your bucket of experience to be full, when you find your bucket of luck



In regards to experience, your awareness and performance during that recent record cold,

snow, and ice event, resulted in zero aircraft accidents or incidents (at PHI Health, LLC).  Many

of our warm-weather crews got to add to their personal experience account, and several of our

crews from cold weather locations got to share theirs.  Thanks for all your efforts.


Find a way to make a small deposit in your experience account every day; the compounded

interest might be just enough to cover that large withdrawal you might have to make.  Also,

watch Sully.  Tom Hanks gives another good performance, and even though the closing of the

investigation hearing is a bit laughable, it’s still a good movie.


Oh, if ever given the opportunity to travel with Tom Hanks…don’t go!  It never goes well in any

of his movies (Cast Away, Apollo 13, Captain Phillips, Sully, etc.)!

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