Passing of a Giant
- Dan Boedigheimer
In Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger’s book Highest Duty my favorite quote is “you never know upon which flight your career will be judged.” Captain Palm’s career will be judged on his expertise in handling a dual-engine flameout and dead stick landing into Jacksonville, FL on November 28, 2005.
Jay was an Instructor Pilot on that flight conducting Initial Operating Experience (IOE) with a pilot new to the Beechjet. You can read about the details of the flight in the NTSB report. It was not the expert flying skills that day that impressed me the most about Jay. It was what Jay did for the 18 months previous to that event that impressed me.
After the first dual-engine flameout in a Beechjet at our company in June 2004, Jay must have chair-flown every possible scenario, including a descent through icing conditions and IMC until reaching the final approach fix, hundreds of times. With every pilot Jay encountered during those 18 months, he started a discussion on what would they do to not only help others prepare, but also to try to learn one more tool he could use if it ever happened to him.
Jay’s preparation for that flight, which statistically should have never happened, demonstrates the perfect flight discipline, skill and proficiency, and six pillars of knowledge that he excelled at, which resulted in good situational awareness and superior judgment that day. There are only a handful of aviators that could have survived the event that day. We were lucky that Captain Jay Palm was at the helm.
I am saddened that not even eight years later we lay Captain Jay Palm to rest. So as you slip those surly bonds of earth and dance the skies one last time without the aid of a fallible winged chariot Jay, be at rest my friend. Jay’s dedication to the profession lives on in each and every pilot he mentored during his career.