The producers of “Sully,” the movie based on the ditching of Flight 1549 in the Hudson River in 2009, are apparently so confident of its authenticity they’ve invited a theater full of pilots to a preview screening on Sept. 7, two days before it opens to general audiences. Warner Bros. has given free tickets to hundreds of pilots in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, for the invitation-only preview. “We’re all really looking forward to seeing it. It will be a lot of fun swapping notes,” said Jill Oakes, the Winnipeg pilot who suggested the idea to Warner Bros. “Local airline pilots plus rec pilots are attending so it should be interesting. The room will be overfull, several hundred viewers.” Passes were offered to organizations representing all level of pilots, from ultralights to airline and military, so Oakes is expecting lively discussion after the movie.
There is already Oscar buzz around the film, which stars Tom Hanks as US Airways Capt. Chesley Sullenberger and Aaron Eckhart as First Officer Jeff Skiles. It’s directed by Clint Eastwood and, since it would be hard to get a feature-length film out of the 208 seconds it took the pilots to glide to the successful ditching on the river, the movie concentrates on the investigations and the finger-pointing that followed. Although revered as heroes by the public, Sullenberger and Skiles faced detailed scrutiny about their decisions and actions on that bitter cold morning. Sullenberger and his new friend Harrison Ford reportedly had a lot to say about the accuracy of the scenes. Aviation movies often get a rough ride from those in the industry for their sometimes-painful portrayal of life in the air but the trailers have been given two thumbs up by the aviation community so far. Critics have also given generally positive reviews so far. We’ll let you know what the Winnipeg aviation community had to say.