Friday, January 23, 2009

Top Story>>Hero of Hudson River crash landing got start in Air Force

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

The pilot who crash-landed a crippled airliner in New York's Hudson River Jan. 15, saving 155 lives on board, is an Air Force Academy graduate who received his pilot training in the Air Force.

Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger steered US Airways Flight 1549 toward the river when both engines failed less than five minutes after takeoff from LaGuardia Airport. All 150 passengers and five crew members survived the incident.

The Academy graduate served in the Air Force from 1973 to 1980, according to his resume. He was an F-4 Phantom II fighter pilot who served as a flight leader and training officer in Europe and the Pacific. He also was the Blue Force mission commander during Red Flag exercises at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

Former President George W. Bush and New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg were among the first to publicly laud Mr. Sullenberger last week for quick thinking and heroism that averted a catastrophe.

Mayor Bloomberg noted during an early evening news conference Jan. 15 that Mr. Sullenberger did not leave the aircraft as it floated in the river until he had confirmed that every passenger had been safely evacuated.

"It would appear the pilot did a masterful job of landing in the river and making sure everybody got out," the mayor said. "I had a long conversation with the pilot. He walked the plane twice and made sure that everybody was out."

President Bush, in a statement released by the White House, said his administration is coordinating with state and local officials to respond to the incident as they monitor
the situation.

"Laura and I are inspired by the skill and heroism of the flight crew as well as the dedication and selflessness of the emergency responders and volunteers who rescued passengers from the icy waters of the Hudson," he said. "We send our thoughts and prayers to all involved in the accident." (Courtesy of Air Force News Service)


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