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Charlotte Bound Flight 1539, Quick Thinking, Great Pilot Makes The Difference…

January 16th, 2009 Listed Under: Charlotte News

Captain Sullenberger,  a credit to the Air Force training, and all of US, Thanks Captain!

It was not likely any of the passengers knew as they boarded the plane just how lucky they were to have this pilot, on this day flying their US Air airplane to Charlotte North Carolina.

As a young man he flew the F-4 Phantom over Vietnam for the Air Force, so he knew something about danger, and had great training on how to think through the problem. He had spent 40 years of his life flying, teaching and more recently, reviewing accidents for his union, the NTSB and as a safety consultant in the private sector.

Asked by his wife about the danger of flying commercial aircraft, he once told her that is was “unlikely for an airline pilot to ever have a life threatening incident in his career.”

Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger never knew he would need all that training, but he trained for it like he would use it. On this day, on this flight, he needed it, had it, and used it in what will surely be the crowning accomplishment of a lifetime in the air.  Literally threading the needle between the shorelines, and the almost certain death for all of his passengers and people on the ground, he quickly decided his only option was the Hudson River

After landing the plane- technically called “ditching” at sea because you can’t land a plane on water- after a “bumpy” landing in the Hudson,  The crew was well practiced and had everyone off the plane in 90 seconds through emergency exits over the wings- and New York responded once again to an emergency, the way New York responds, with Ferry’s and boats of all kinds picking up the passengers minutes after the touchdown.

Captain Sullenberger? He was the last person off the plane as he apparently calmly walked the plane twice, even though water was waste deep by this time, to make sure everyone was out of the plane. That’s how emergency officials knew so quickly that everyone had been accounted for.

That’s doing it right.

On a personal note, I have a  son being trained by the US Navy to be a pilot. “Sully” will be an example for him and his classmates too. tm

Terry McDonald
I'm the owner/team leader of The McDonald Group at Wilkinson and Associates ERA Powered real estate brokers here in Charlotte NC. A transplanted Washinghtonian, my family and I came from the NYC area in 1993.
Terry McDonald
Terry McDonald

Written By

  1. Michael Marcus

    As we praise the entire crew for their incredible effort in saving all the passengers, I realize after seeing them awaiting for help on the wings that very few of those passengers are wearing the yellow inflatable vests. I wonder why.
    Also, with the innumerable quantity of tourists at any given moment in NYC with their videocams fired up, isn’t it amazing that no video of the plane going down was taken. Weren’t there tourists right there aboard the Circle Line tugs for instance?

  2. Ed Knight

    Congrats to all

    nice job

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