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Nation Marks Five-Year Anniversary of Miracle on the Hudson

Flight 1549

Sully & Skiles

January 15, 2014 - Five years ago, January 15, 2009, US Airways Flight 1549 was successfully ditched into the Hudson River after their Airbus A320 crossed paths with a flock of Canada geese 100 seconds after departing New York's LaGuardia Airport and lost both engines. Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger and First Officer Jeff Skiles safely glided the powerless aircraft to the river, saving all 155 souls onboard what will be forever etched in history as the "Miracle on the Hudson."

Later that year Sully and Skiles appeared at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2009. The following September they were named co-chairmen of the EAA Young Eagle program serving for four years. Skiles also joined the EAA staff is currently vice president of communities and member programs.

The two heroes of Flight 1549 appeared live on CBS This Morning Wednesday morning to discuss the events of five years ago. Later Wednesday they were to join the rest of Flight 1549's flight crew and passengers and ferry crews who rescued them at Hudson River Park in New York to commemorate the event in a "Toast to Life" ceremony.

Skiles returns to Oshkosh on Thursday evening where he'll give an EAA Aviation Adventure Speaker Series presentation, "Miracle on the Hudson," in the Founders' Wing of the museum.

When Sully and Skiles appeared together at AirVenture in 2010, they fielded a number of questions about the flight that made them famous. Two hundred eight seconds after striking the geese, they were floating on the Hudson. After efforts to relight the engines failed, the pilots knew their only option was ditching in the Hudson River.

"I knew from experience there were only three options, and after looking out the window, the stress did not leave me the ability to do the math," Sully explained. "The only option was the Hudson."

Since simulator training cannot accurately replicate that situation, Sully said the key to their success stemmed from the crew's deeply internalized resource management skills, leadership and team building, and cooperative skills in the cockpit.

"In this intense, high-workload situation, we never had a chance to have a conversation about what was happening or what we were going to do about it," he said. "So I had to rely upon Jeff to understand this unfolding situation as it developed, listen to my conversation, and infer my intent from that. It was wordless for much of the flight.

"We took an imperfect system with imperfect tools and made it work out."

When asked if the FAA gave him a seaplane rating after the Hudson landing, Sully replied, "No, the FAA just said that it would if I did it two more times."

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