Danville's 'Sully' commemorates 1-year anniversary of Hudson River landing

Passengers, crew, rescuers gather in Manhattan celebration

One year after he successfully landed a plane on the Hudson River in New York, Danville resident Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger was back in Manhattan Friday to thank first-response workers on the scene and commemorate the landing with the flight's crew and passengers.

On Jan. 15, 2009, Sullenberger safely landed US Airways flight No. 1549 on the river after its engines lost power, saving the lives of all 155 people on board.

To celebrate the anniversary of the landing, Sullenberger first attended an appreciation breakfast for the American Red Cross organized by the passengers.

Flight 1549 passenger Theresa Leahy organized the breakfast for the Greater New York and Northern New Jersey chapter of the American Red Cross, according to the organization.

Sullenberger thanked the emergency personnel at the event, which was also attended by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York Gov. David Paterson.

Bloomberg also praised Sullenberger and his crew, in addition to the emergency workers.

He said being able to tell New Yorkers that all 155 passengers were safe marked one of the happiest moments of his life.

After the Red Cross event, Sullenberger and the Flight 1549 crew and passengers rode on a ferry boat to the area on the Hudson River where the landing happened and raised a toast at 3:31 p.m. to commemorate the event.

"The passengers have organized a reception for this afternoon and evening," said Libby Smiley of Barbary Coast Consulting. "They're doing something to mark the moment."

A year after the landing, Sullenberger, who has been widely lauded as an American hero, is as popular as ever.

A speech he gave at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco sold out in November, and last month, a pilot's cap he wore for years brought in $5,800 at an auction for local schools.

"The story has a lot of power," Smiley said. "As (Sullenberger) likes to say, it's reminded us of the potential in each of us. We can all take a moment today to remember what a good thing happened."

Janna Brancolini, Bay City News

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Like this comment
Posted by Trevor Clark
a resident of another community
on Jan 16, 2010 at 7:26 pm

What a landing. No other pilot would ever been able to do that. Even with no practice.

Like this comment
Posted by Qwerty
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2010 at 9:46 am

I wonder if the successful outcome was due in part to his experience with gliders.

Like this comment
Posted by not so sure
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2010 at 12:48 pm

for Trevor
"No other pilot would ever been able to do that"
Don't be so sure. Good landing, yes, but he had zero choices to make. Hmmm, crash into the buildings, land on the open water, wonder what to do.
The pilot of the DC10 that crashed at Sioux City had nearly an hour to struggle to fly a certifiably "unflyable" plane (comments from the manufacturer, the Feds and the NTSB). He brought it to the airport, landed it and saved dozens of lives. He did not negotiate for a high paid "management" job or a multi-million dollar book deal. Now don't start saying that I think that Sully crashed on purpose to get those thing, I do not. I am only saying that he has sure turned this into an economic bonanza and that has tarnished the "hero" part for many of us. The DC10 pilot has spent the years after the crash giving free speeches -- FREE -- to help people learn how to manage resources and work together. Sully has jumpstarted his business by speaking for huge fees on the same topic.

Like this comment
Posted by Every bit a hero
a resident of Canyon Oaks
on Jan 17, 2010 at 8:42 pm

Sully's landing of that plane was heroic and amazing and even that "pilot" you refer to felt way. He had no choice but the Hudson but the perfect landing made it possible for all to live. To diminish this landing by the fact that he is "saving" his family's financial security also has no bearing on what he did. Considering he had no pension and was at the point of selling his home I don't for a minute think it was not appropriate for him to ask for a promotion and fee for his skill and inspiration AND time. That is what the workforce calls for. Financial ruin does not make him anymore of a HERO.

Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 17, 2010 at 11:17 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

"Sully has jumpstarted his business by speaking for huge fees on the same topic. "

What a wicked rumor to start. Jumpstart? The business already existed. No one causes a double-engine bird strike.

Like this comment
Posted by not so sure
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 18, 2010 at 9:15 am

"No one causes a double-engine bird strike", as usual you do not read the content but rush to get your two cents in. I specifically said that I do NOT think or infer that he did this on purpose. My point is that Yes, it was a terrific landing. But, some of what he has done in the aftermath is less than glowing.
His business had a website and the hopes of clients, but no actual business. The Sioux City pilot has never charged a penny for his time and inspiriation -- even when faced with backruptcy and the loss of his home due to the cost of cancer treatments for his daughter. A "hero" with his hand constantly out is not quite as appealing as one who just quietly goes on about life, doing the right thing.

Like this comment
Posted by Every bit a hero
a resident of Canyon Oaks
on Jan 18, 2010 at 10:06 am

The Capt. Haynes tradegy involved at least half his passengers dying as well as the ones saved and THAT is why he has lived with a totally different situation and did not accept money. He was one of the first to call Capt. Sully with his admiration and Sully has said if ONE person died he would not have accepted any of these things. Sully has had a multitude of lucrative offers that he DIDN'T accept and focused on giving his lifetime of study, knowledge, and expert testimony to make a difference and possibly save more lives. US Airways saved a fortune on this precise landing and used his public persona for their benefit after taking away his pension and 40% of his salary. They offered him a position in safety to incorporate a new safety system. Work and good work. He COULD have accepted a huge financial offer to go to Virgin Airlines with Branson but he stayed with his "family". 155 people are alive today because of Sully and generations to come...he deserves to have a secure life. Hand out? He has accepted what grateful people OFFERED to inspire and teach. Since Jeff Skiles is making speeches for money is he too asking for a handout? The flight attendants on 1549 have not worked all year. Taking a handout? Heroes all who have suffered with post traumatic. I guess we see heroism differently. There is such bitterness in this whole's too bad because this was a "miracle" that should be celebrated and that is what Danville's Sully made happen and what all these passengers and families wanted to acknowledge. No one can deny the greatness of Al Haynes but denegrating an equally heroic man is not the way to go in my opinion.

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