Captain Sullenberger Goes To Washington

  • E-Mail this Article
  • View Printable Article
  • Text size:

    • A
    • A
    • A

Along with about 2 million other people who spent Wednesday in Washington, D.C., Captain Chesley Sullenberger, the pilot who just last week deftly steered a crippled Airbus to a safe landing in New York's Hudson River, made his way to the Capitol for Inauguration Day. Capt. Sullenberger and his family were there at the invitation of President Barack Obama, although so far there have been no confirmed reports that the two had a chance to meet. They did speak on the phone, however, after last week's ditching, and Sullenberger told the then-president-elect, "Me and my crew, we were just doing our job." On Monday, Mr. Obama told reporters, "It made me think, if everybody did their job, whatever that job was, as well as that pilot did his job, we'd be in pretty good shape." The captain attended the inauguration and was spotted by TMZ.com's celeb-watchers later in the day at a district restaurant called, appropriately enough, "Hudson," dining with some members of his crew and passengers from last week's flight. Sullenberger, who was dubbed by TMZ as "the most famous pilot on the planet," was a "rock star," according to the report, graciously shaking hands with a steady flow of admirers. On Saturday, Capt. Sullenberger returns to his home town of Danville, Calif., a suburb in the San Francisco Bay area, where he and his family will attend a ceremony on the Town Green hosted by the town's mayor.

So far, the captain has not spoken publicly about the accident. Bruce Landsberg, of AOPA's Air Safety Foundation, said that GA pilots can learn some lessons from the ditching. Don't try to turn back to the runway, have options in mind if an emergency occurs close to the ground, and focus on flying the airplane all the way to touchdown, Landsberg suggests. The ASF also offers advice for pilots about bird-strike hazards and how to avoid them or cope with them.