AMERICA'S newest hero has called it a career. Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the pilot who safely landed a stricken US Airways plane on the Hudson River, flew his last flight this past week.
Mr. Sullenberger's water landing, which all 155 people on the plane survived, came last year after birds struck and disabled both engines. Last week, the airline announced his retirement.
“Sully,” as friends and now his adoring American public have come to know him, will do some of the usual things retirees do, such as spend more time with the family. But he also plans to speak out in areas where he is uniquely qualified — raising the qualifications for pilots and reducing the hours they can work in a day.
Mr. Sullenberger's cool head and steady hand helped him save the day in January, 2009. He can rescue even more passengers by persuading lawmakers, regulators, and airline executives that safety in the skies must be paramount.
Air travelers like convenience and low fares, but an industry that cuts corners to deliver either is gambling with people's lives.
If the hero pilot makes that point, the “Miracle on the Hudson” will have a second act and Sully Sullenberger will take flight again.