"The pilot of Flight 1549 was Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger III, 57, of Danville, Calif., an official familiar with the accident told The Associated Press. Sullenberger is a former fighter pilot who runs a safety consulting firm in addition to flying commercial aircraft.
Sullenberger, who has flown for US Airways since 1980, flew F-4 fighter jets with the Air Force in the 1970s. He then served on a board that investigated aircraft accidents and participated later in several National Transportation Safety Board investigations.
Sullenberger had been studying the psychology of keeping airline crews functioning even in the face of crisis, said Robert Bea, a civil engineer who co-founded UC Berkeley's Center for Catastrophic Risk Management.
Bea said he could think of few pilots as well-situated to bring the plane down safely than Sullenberger.
"When a plane is getting ready to crash with a lot of people who trust you, it is a test.. Sulley proved the end of the road for that test. He had studied it, he had rehearsed it, he had taken it to his heart."
The pilot "did a masterful job of landing the plane in the river and then making sure that everybody got out," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. "He walked the plane twice after everybody else was off, and tried to verify that there was nobody else on board, and he assures us there was not."
"He was the last one up the aisle and he made sure that there was nobody behind him."
Gov. David Paterson pronounced it a "miracle on the Hudson."
My younger brother’s off to Fighter Pilot school after he graduates from the Air Force Academy this spring…he’s the bravest dude I know. Sully sounds like he’s got ‘em beat. Here’s to those that keep us safe in the sky!