A true professional and hero.
The media fails to mention he is a qualified glider pilot, as was the Captain of the Air Canada 767 that landed deadstick in Gimli, Manitoba, out of fuel.
Professionals all five of the crew, and a job well done. . The copilot has been totally ignored, but his work was vital, too. It takes teamwork. They even have a program and term for it: Crew Resource Management.
Unfortunately, the term "Hero" is badly overused by the media.
Ralph, my daughter was a flight attendant with TWA (that tells you how long ago!) for three years. Her favorite bumper sticker read, "My job is to save your a*s, not kiss it!"
One of my coworkers is a glider pilot (& instructor). He mentioned some trials made with glider planes landing in water. They had experienced best results with the landing gears down? (no, no ice on the lake)
He thought the landing gear started the slow down in the water gently, yet without enough force to nosetip the glider. When belly landing on water, the gliders tended to go submarining almost immideatly, causing broken plexi & problems getting out.
For a big jetplane, other forces may apply?
When reading about the New York incident, I immedeatly thought about another lucky landing in 1991 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scandinavian_Airlines_Flight_751