Madam Speaker, flying the friendly skies seems to be increasingly out of reach for most travelers. I, like many other Americans, am a frequent flyer and have been fortunate enough to have always arrived at my destination safely. Because of the quick action of pilots Captain David Skidmore, 1st Officer Michael Nelson Jr. and the crew of Continental flight 458 on July 22, 2008 this statement still holds true.  Captain David Skidmore, has worked for Continental Airlines for seven years and recently completed his Captains training in December of 2007. 1st officer Michael Nelson Jr. has been with Continental since May 2008. 

 

When our plane suddenly lost altitude and cabin pressure on Tuesday afternoon, the pilots regained control of the aircraft without hesitation. As I, along with the 117 other people, including 6 other members of Congress, aboard the D.C.-bound flight from Houston, TX put on our oxygen masks and imagined the possibilities.  While the plane took a steep dissent at rapid speed, Captain David Skidmore and 1st Officer Michael Nelson Jr. remained calm under the pressure.

 

Although faced with a possibly dire situation, the pilots were able to safely make an emergency landing in New Orleans.  We landed with the fire trucks lining the runway-just like in the movies.  From the time when our flight began experiencing difficulties to when we were on the ground 20 minutes later, the pilots and crew flawlessly executed their emergency procedures. Continental Airlines made travel arrangements for all 117 passengers and put us on three different flights to D.C.  We arrived in Washington about six hours later.  The members of Congress did miss votes however.  Ironically, one bill was to upgrade aviation safety.  The bill passed unanimously without the missing seven members of Congress.  No doubt, if present I would have voted yes on this bill- H.R. 6493. 

 

The pilots combined experience, along with the flight crews quick action, is truly commendable. I am fortunate, as a passenger, to have been in the care of such capable pilots as Captain David Skidmore, and 1st Officer Michael Nelson Jr.

 

And thats just the way it is.