This morning the papers are full of news about the only man in America who could steal headlines from Barack Obama within days of his inauguration: 57-year-old Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger III, the pilot of US Airways Flight 1549. Here's what you need to know about this man, now called the "Hero of the Hudson," who saved the lives of the 155 passengers on his plane after both engines failed and he was forced to land in the icy waters off of Manhattan:
• He has four decades of flight experience, including as a pilot in the Air Force.
• He is a "respected authority on safety matters who has been a consultant to NASA and the National Transportation Safety Board, and is even credited with identifying flawed Federal Aviation Administration procedures."
• "He also runs a company, Safety Reliability Methods Inc., that helps apply the safety techniques he's perfected to other industries."
• He's from Danville, California, and is a certified glider pilot — a skill that would have helped prepare him to fly an engineless jet.
• He "earned master's degrees at both Purdue University and the University of Northern Colorado. Sullenberger is also a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley."
• Friends are unsurprised the cool-headed Sully kept his wits about him in the emergency, but doubt that he'll be eager to accept all the hero plaudits coming his way.
• He "wanted to fly from the time he was a boy, watching fighter jets roar over his small hometown in Texas." He got his pilot's license as a junior in high school.
• Michael Daly thinks we should give him a ticker-tape parade down the Canyon of Heroes. Obviously.
Hero of the Hudson: Pilot of US Airways Flight 1549 saved every passenger with miracle landing [NYDN]
SUPERHERO PILOT MAN OF THE HOUR [NYP]
Pilot's heroic journey started long ago [Newsday]
Now let's honor pilot who saved Flight 1549: Chesley (Sully) Sullenberger [NYDN]
Earlier: Commercial Jet Crashes in the Hudson