Sully Quits ICAO Ambassador Job


After six months in the post, Capt. Chesley (Sully) Sullenberger has resigned as the U.S.’s ambassador to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Sullenberger said in a brief statement on Thursday that it was a tough decision but he didn’t offer any explanation for it. A State Department spokesman was similarly vague in describing the Flight 1549 captain’s brief tenure as saying Sully’s “indisputable credibility on aviation safety and security matters reinforced American leadership on those issues and strengthened our nation’s partnerships across the globe.”

The sudden vacancy occurs as the ICAO, which is a U.N. body that sets air carrier policy for more than 90 percent of the world, is preparing for its triennial assembly later this year. Aircraft emissions and a long-term agreement on greater efficiency will be at the top of the agenda and the U.S., as the largest aviation nation in the group, will play a pivotal role. Sullenberger has recently been personally lobbying against a bid by regional airlines to cut the experience provisions for new airline pilots.

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  1. ICAO is a political entity; Sully likely just wanted to do things right.
    Example; the nonsensical “recommendation” of age 65 as a limit for professional pilots.
    Medical studies showed no reason, the limit was supposed to go away, but after someone from a country with a limit got into ICAO; the “recommendation” was made permanent.
    Sully was forced to retire by a nonsensical age limit; he was likely at the peak of his competency, which illustrates the idiocy of stupid decisions by bureaucrats.

  2. “ICAO, which is a U.N. body”. Says it all, really. Another useless talk fest and gravy train for useless eaters. Glad he has left.
    Australia and New Zealand have no age limit for domestic and Aus-NZ routes, although some limits for carrying passengers. I have a friend who is 75 who still flies Boeing 737’s on night freight operations. Haven’t heard of any issues.

  3. A man like Sullenberger is becoming “extinct” He is knowledgeable, knows how to confront PCs and BS. So, knowing who he is I bet he got tired about the BS that U.N. and ICAO is putting up with. Too bad because if Men like him is leaving leadership positions more room for nonsense expands. It’s a loosing war. The whole world is falling for “central BS” control. One alone can’t make much… Said to see…

    • You are essentially misinformed. No, they did not hit the ditch switch, but that was for a very good reason: the ditch switch was at the end of a long checklist that they didn’t have time to complete. In addition, the ditch switch wouldn’t have made any difference anyways.
      From the NTSB report:

      “Even though the engines did not experience a total loss of thrust, the Engine Dual Failure checklist was the most applicable checklist contained in the US Airways QRH, which was developed in accordance with the Airbus QRH, to address the accident event because it was the only checklist that contained guidance to follow if an engine restart was not possible and if a forced landing or ditching was anticipated (starting from 3,000 feet). However, according to postaccident interviews and CVR data, the flight crew did not complete the Engine Dual Failure checklist, which had 3 parts and was 3 pages long. Although the flight crewmembers were able to complete most of part 1 of the checklist, they were not able to start parts 2 and 3 of the checklist because of the airplane’s low altitude and the limited time available.”

      Even if they had hit the ditch switch, it wouldn’t have mattered. 1549 hit the water hard and the underside of the fuselage was all torn up. Just take a look at the pictures of the underside of the aircraft — it suffered major damage.