The San Francisco Aeronautical Society wishes to thank everyone who joined us for this memorable event and a special thank you goes to Captain Sully Sullenberger.
Nearly 100 people waited in line inside of the Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum at SFO to meet Capt. Sullenberger and many had their books signed before watching the documentary, “Miracle Landing on the Hudson.”
Shortly before the film started, Sullenberger delivered a moving and informative speech about what happened in the cockpit on January 15, 2009. He described how he managed the ultimate crisis. It may be surprising to some people, but Sullenberger and First Officer Jeffrey Skiles had never met before Flight 1549. “I couldn’t have had a better colleague that day. In a situation where the time pressure and workload were so intense, we couldn’t even talk about what happened and what we should do about it. He and I were able to collaborate wordlessly in this developing crisis, knowing intuitively what we should do to help the other based on our own long experience,” Sullenberger explained.
So, how exactly did Sullenberger safely land the plane? “We had never trained for this on the flight simulators at the airline…it was not possible to practice a water landing. But because I had learned my craft so well, I knew my airplane and my profession so intimately that I could set clear priorities. So I chose to do only the highest priority items. And then I had the discipline to ignore everything I did not have time to do as being only distractions and potential detriment to our performance,” Sullenberger added. “We used gravity to provide the forward motion of the plane.” He described that it then came down to judging altitude, speed and holding the nose of the plane just right before landing on the water. “I knew it was going to be a hard landing; I just didn’t know how hard,” Sullenberger said.
SFAS Board Member Dennis Bouey said “Sully could not have been more accommodating, patient, and informative to our members; not to mention with a constant display of good humor.”
This was indeed a very special event to honor one of our Bay Area heroes – Captain Sully Sullenberger.