1549 FO “A Modest Man”


Jeffrey Skiles is the kind of guy who’d give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. And that, says his mother Deloris, explains why one of the passengers interviewed after being rescued from Flight 1549 was wearing the tunic with the three stripes that clearly identified it as coming from Skiles, who was first officer on the flight. Skiles, 49, of Oregon, Wisc., was the flying pilot when the aircraft took off from LaGuardia Airport on Thursday but handed the aircraft over to Capt. Chesley Sullenberger after both engines quit. Although the precise tasks he performed in the ditching haven’t been detailed, he was undoubtedly busy, but his mother told The Associated Press he won’t be bragging about it. “I know he did everything he could,” his mother said. “He’s a modest fellow and a very modest man.”

Skiles’ wife Barbara said her husband needed clean clothes but was otherwise unruffled by the mishap. “Someone was kind enough to give him clean underwear,” she said. Skiles grew up in a flying family. Both his parents had pilot certificates and he and his brothers frequently flew with them. But his mother said his siblings didn’t catch the bug. “They didn’t take to flying,” Deloris Skiles said, “but Jeff did.”