Release #10.030
August 31, 2010

Atlantic Southeast Airlines Pilots Receive ALPA’s Superior Airmanship Award
Orlando Pilots Recognized for Safely Landing Airliner

WASHINGTON – The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), will honor Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA) Capt. Yngve Paulsen and First Officer Michael F. Aguzino, both of Orlando, Fla., with the ALPA Superior Airmanship Award for their extraordinary effort in performing an emergency landing after their airliner’s left main landing gear failed to extend.

“The response of the pilots of Atlantic Southeast Flight 5414 underscores the importance of having well-trained, experienced, professional pilots at the controls when an emergency situation demands rapid assessment and decisive action,” said Capt. John Prater, ALPA’s president.

The Canadair CRJ-200 regional jet flight left Columbus, Ga. with 19 passengers on June 11, 2009, and, after an uneventful flight, the crew was preparing for an early evening landing in Atlanta. While on their final approach, the pilots lowered the gear for landing and were alerted by a warning light that indicated the left main gear was not down and locked.

Capt. Paulsen declared an emergency, and the pilots then flew away from the airport to burn up extra fuel, perform their emergency landing checklist, and allow time for the flight attendant to prepare the passengers for a partial gear-up landing and possible cabin evacuation.

Air traffic controllers offered the pilots of the crippled aircraft Runway 28, but Capt. Paulsen rejected this landing approach. Recognizing that Runway 28 includes a bridge that crosses Interstate 285, and uncertain how the aircraft would behave upon landing, Capt. Paulsen opted instead to land on Runway 27R, the longest runway at Atlanta’s Hartsfield International Airport.

After the aircraft touched down, it traveled almost 3,000 feet before coming to a stop on the runway, suffering only minor damage to its left wing and flaps. No fire resulted from the landing, and none of the 19 passengers or crew was injured.

“The professionalism and expert airmanship exhibited during this emergency are a compliment to the flight crew as well as to the training they received from our airline,” said Capt. David Nieuwenhuis, ALPA’s ASA pilot group Master Executive Council chairman. “The safe outcome of Flight 5414 is a direct result of the teamwork, experience, and training displayed by Capt. Paulsen and First Officer Aguzino. They have set a shining example for our fellow aviators across the industry to follow.”

“On behalf of everyone at Atlantic Southeast Airlines and myself personally, a round of applause goes to Capt. Paulsen and First Officer Aguzino for their outstanding handling of an emergency that could have had a much more serious outcome,” said Charlie Tutt, ASA vice president of Flight Operations. “I’m proud to have these professionals associated with our airline and am pleased to know the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l is recognizing their courageous efforts.”

The award will be presented on August 31 at ALPA’s 56th Air Safety Forum Awards Dinner in Washington, DC.

Founded in 1931, ALPA represents nearly 53,000 pilots at 38 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit for more information.


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