Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger Returns Back For Flight Duty




Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger Returns Back For Flight Duty

By Mike Mitchell


TEMPE, Arizona Sep. 28, 2009, US Airways announced today that Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who piloted Flight 1549 during its emergency water landing on the Hudson River in January, is returning to work in a new role as a management pilot. In addition to his flying duties, Capt. Sullenberger will join the US Airways flight operations safety management team.  

On January 15, 2009, at approximately 3:27 PM Eastern Standard Time, US Airways flight 1549, an Airbus A320-214, N106US, equipped with CFM engines, incurred multiple bird strikes during initial climb. The airplane subsequently lost thrust to its engines and ditched in the Hudson River at approximately 3:30 PM Eastern Standard Time. The flight was a Title 14 CFR Part 121 scheduled domestic passenger flight from New York's La Guardia Airport (LGA) to Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) in Charlotte, North Carolina.  

While on its initial climb out, the Airbus A320 struck a flock of Canada Geese which resulted in an immediate almost complete loss of thrust from both engines. When the aircrew determined that the aircraft would be unable to safely reach any airfield from its location just northeast of the George Washington Bridge, they turned it southbound and glided over the river into which they successfully ditched the airliner near the USS Intrepid Museum in midtown Manhattan about three minutes later.   

The pilot, Captain Chesley B. Sullenberger, splash-landed the plane in the icy Hudson River. All 155 occupants safely evacuated the still virtually intact (although partially submerged and slowly sinking) airliner from which ferries and rescue boats swarmed toward the plane from both banks of the river, and all on board were brought to shore safely in a dramatic episode. 


Conditions were VFR and the aircraft was operating on an IFR plan. To date, of the 5 crewmembers and 150 passengers on board, five serious injuries have been reported. A total of twenty-six people were transported to hospitals, including two emergency response personnel.

“We welcome Capt. Sullenberger back to work and are proud to have him flying with us again as a member of the US Airways safety management organization,” said Chairman and CEO, Doug Parker. “US Airways is an industry leader when it comes to safety and Sully is an excellent addition to the team.”  

“The months since January 15 have been very full, and my family and I have had some unforgettable experiences,” said Capt. Sullenberger. “However, I have missed working with my colleagues at US Airways and I am eager to get back in the cockpit with my fellow pilots in the months ahead. In my new role, I will continue to be the same kind of advocate for aviation safety that I have been for several decades.”

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