“I f***ed up!”

Improving Police

Years ago, Peter Senge recounted the following incident in his book, The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization.

In 1968, Captain Kohei Asoh landed his Japan Air Lines DC–8 jetliner two and a half miles short of the runway out in the waters of San Francisco Bay.  He made a perfect three–point touchdown.

Fortunately, the bay is only about 10 feet deep at that point.  The crew remained composed and the 96 passengers were uninjured and quickly rescued.   A hearing was held.

The captain was summoned as the first witness.  The chief investigator, imagining the usual excuses, rationalizations and finger pointing, asked Captain Asoh, “In your own words, can you tell us how you managed to land that DC–8 stretch jet two and a half miles out in San Francisco Bay in perfect compass line with the runway?”

Captain Asoh’s response, though never recorded in…

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