July 29, 2021

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Joe Biden picks hero of Hudson Miracle, Sully, as USA ambassador to ICAO

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An heroic act, Airbus A320 ditched to the Hudson River, New York, 2009

US President, Joe Biden, has picked the hero of “Hudson River Miracle”, Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, for the position of ambassador to the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Montreal, Canada.

Sullenberger, whose fame soared for his “Miracle on the Hudson” water landing in 2009, was one of nine nominees Biden announced for ambassador positions.

Recalled 12 years ago, on 15th January 2009, Sully and his second officer, Jeffrey Skiles, took off in an American Airways airbus A320, Flight Number 1549, from New York’s LaGuardia Airport on a flight to Charlotte, North Carolina

Left: : Commander of the fateful flight, Capt Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, Co-Pilot of the flight, Capt Jeffrey Skiles

As the cockpit crew were enthusiastically manoeuvring the machine to complete climbing and position at the allotted altitude, the aircraft flew through a flock of geese hence, it lost power in both engines.


There arrived the moment to make quick but safety critical decision whether to make air return by gliding back to LaGuardia or attempt to land at nearby Teterboro Airport in New Jersey.

Passengers and crew on the wings of the Air bus at the Hudson River before the aircraft sank

As the flight had barely spent 20 minutes in the sky, and within a split of a second, it dawned on the Flight Commander, Sullenberger, that the Airbus did not have enough altitude to glide to LaGuardia or make it to nearby Teterboro Airport.


As a captain with valor, perhaps due to his background in the US Air Force, Sully made radio communication with the Control Tower, and advised controllers with the historic six words thus, “We’re gonna be in the Hudson.”

Capt Chesley “Sully” (short form of) Sullenberger and second officer Jeffrey Skiles, skillfully ditched their Airbus in the frigid January waters of the Hudson River abeam Manhattan.
Miraculously, all the 155 souls on board were rescued before the aircraft sank. They comprised 150 passengers and 5 flight crew. Thus the famous headline by the media, “The Hudson Miracle”, brought global attention to the crew’s rare feat and made the captain a celebrity.

Also, at the build-up to the US Presidential election last year, Sullenberger did not sit on the fence. He came out openly to castigate the incumbent President, Donald J Trump. And he overtly demonstrated his support for Joe Biden, then an aspirant to the White House.

Capt Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and wife at the 10th year commemoration of the Hudson River Miracle

Sully was also prominent in a paid advertisement by the anti-Trump Lincoln Project

He castigated Mr Trump in the advert with the following commentary, “From my service as an Air Force Officer and a Fighter Pilot, I knew that serving a cause greater than oneself is the highest calling. And it’s in that highest calling of leadership that Donald Trump has failed us so miserably.”

Capt Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, with wife and children at the 10th anniversary of the heroic ditching into the Hudson River

No doubt an exhibition of the sterling quality qality a real captain was made of in the cockpit enclave and in the socio-political spheres- Bravery, principle and action were his hallmarks.

In the same vein, Capt Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, overtly demonstrated his support for Joe Biden far ahead of the election.

In one of Sully’s feature articles in the Open Page Editorial of the New York Times in January 2020, he wrote about his challenges as a child and revealed that, Like President Biden, he also struggled with stuttering as a child, and later in life had mastery over it.

Capt Chesley “Sully” retired from US Airways in 2010, just a year after he successfully landed in the frigid January waters of the Hudson River overlooking Manhattan.

Young Chesley Sullenberger, in the US Air Force

Over a dozen books have been written about him and the incident at the Hudson River. On the tenth anniversary of the historic event two years ago, the crew and passengers involved in the event were celebrated in a most elaborate national commemoration of the fateful event.

Capt Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, will be bringing his wealth of experience from the US Air Force, and from civil, commercial aviation to the disposal of the global aviation family in his capacity as the US ambassador in the ICAO council of the board of directors

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