“Heroic” Pilots Get Cash Rewards


The flight crew of a Sichuan Airlines A319 that had a windscreen failure on May 14 will split about $1.5 million in cash rewards granted by China’s Civil Aviation Administration and the Sichuan provincial government. According to the China Daily/Asia News Network, the captain on the flight, Liu Chuanjian, was granted about $800,000 and given the honorary title of “CAAC Heroic Captain” for getting the airplane safely on the ground. Another captain on the flight deck got about $300,000 while the first officer, who was almost sucked out through the broken windscreen, will receive about $150,000. The six cabin crew got about $25,000 each and, along with the second captain and FO, were named a “CAAC Heroic Crew.”

The flight, with 119 passengers aboard, was on its way from Chongqing Jiangbei Airport in southern China to Lhasa, Tibet, and had just leveled at 32,000 feet when the right side of the windscreen let go. Liu was able to regain control of the aircraft and make an emergency landing in Chengdu about 45 minutes later. Other crew members pulled the first officer, who suffered a gashed face and sprained wrist, back into the cockpit. A flight attendant was also slightly injured as were 29 passengers.

A month earlier, a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 suffered an uncontained engine failure that shattered a passenger window, almost sucking a woman out. She was pulled back in but later died from her injuries. The aircraft, which was going from New York to Dallas, landed safely in Philadelphia after an emergency descent. The captain on that flight, former Navy fighter pilot Tammy Jo Shults, was praised for her and her crew’s cool handling of the emergency. She got a personal thank you from President Donald Trump in the Oval Office but there has been no mention of a monetary reward.