‘Miracle on the Hudson’ Pilot Shares Life Lessons

On Jan. 15, 2009, a pilot’s life changed forever.

February 27, 2011

On Jan. 15, 2009, a pilot’s life changed forever, along with the lives of 155 passengers and crew. When both engines went out on U.S. Airways Flight 1549 because of a flock of geese, Capt. Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger III, and First Officer Jeffrey B. Skiles, made the difficult decision to attempt to land in New York’s Hudson River.

That quick decision and Sullenberger’s expert landing in the middle of the city, and on water, saved the lives of all passengers aboard. Sullenberger will share his insights during today's General Session at 2:30 p.m.

Chesley Sullenberger
Capt. Chesley Sullenberger's quick thinking saved the lives of 155 passengers and crew.

When he piloted his last flight before retirement one year ago, Sullenberger shared a personal statement and impressions with the New York Daily News: “Thirty years ago…I began my airline career. I have been fortunate to have followed my passion for most of my life, working in a profession I dearly love, side by side with thousands of wonderful colleagues.”

Sullenberger, now an aviation safety expert and accident investigator, also serves as founder and CEO of Safety Reliability Methods, a consulting company dedicated to management, safety, performance, and reliability consulting.

He’s also a New York Times best-selling author, and Time magazine named him one of the world's 100 most influential people in 2009.

“Each generation of pilots hopes that they will leave their profession better off than they found it,” says Sullenberger about his focus on aviation safety.

“I will continue to serve as the same kind of advocate I have always been—not only for aviation safety, but for the airline piloting profession. I will work to remind the entire industry—and those who manage and regulate it—that we have a sacred duty to our passengers to do the very best that we know how to do.”

The keynote speaker is sponsored by Credit Union Specialty, a division of Aflac.