Chesley B. Sullenberger III, a pilot from Danville, California, became an overnight hero in 2009. On January 15, Sullenberger safely guided all 155 passengers and crewmembers aboard US Airways Flight 1549 to an emergency water landing on the Hudson River along New York City. The plane had lost power to both engines shortly after leaving LaGuardia Airport.
"Brace for impact," Sullenberger told those aboard the flight before making a safe landing in the frigid water. He then walked through the plane twice to check that all passengers and crew were safe. The miraculous landing became known as the "miracle on the Hudson," but the smooth landing was really thanks to Sullenberger and his team’s expert skill and calm under pressure.
Captain Sullenberger, known as "Sully," became a US Airways pilot in 1980. Sullenberger, 58, has served as an Air Force fighter pilot, a flight instructor, Air Line Pilots Association safety chairman and accident investigator. He has also helped develop new plans for airline safety.
In September, Sullenberger was named co-chairman of the Experimental Aircraft Association Young Eagles Program, which gives kids and teens the opportunity for inspirational and educational flight experiences, free of charge.
For using his hard-earned piloting safety skills to save lives and educate others, Chesley “Sully” B. Sullenberger III is a nominee for TFK Person of the Year 2009.