Geek Of The Week: Chesley Sullenberger

Geek Of The Week: Chesley Sullenberger

Chesley Burnett Sullenberger III is the former Air Force pilot portrayed by Tom Hanks (photographed together above) in the 2016 film Sully. The film focused on the fate of US Airways flight 1549 on January 15, 2009 and the ensuing NTSB investigation. Sullenberger was the captain of the flight as it left New York’s Laguardia airport that fateful morning. The Airbus A320 aircraft hit a flock of migrating geese shortly after takeoff causing a dual engine failure. Using quick thinking and incredible teamwork, Sullenberger landed the airplane in the Hudson river and saved all 155 people on board.

Those the news media made is seem like Sullenberger single-handedly saved all those people, he credited the entire crew with the fate of the passengers as it was a team effort. The First Officer and cabin crew did their parts to ensure safety during landing. Additionally, dozens of rescue boats played a part and as a result, not a single life was lost. Everyone performed flawlessly. Regardless of who should or should not have gotten the credit, Sullenberger was the last person off the aircraft after walking the aisle twice to ensure there were no passengers still on board. He made the list of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Heroes and Icons in 2009.

taxi Geek Of The Week: Chesley Sullenberger
Sullenberger’s final taxi of an Airbus A321 in 2010

Sullenberger retired from US Airways a little over a year later. His last flight landed at Charlotte Douglas International Airport on March 3, 2010. Since retiring, he was written two books and was hired by CBS News as an aviation consultant. Sullenberger’s accolades include: the Master’s Medal from the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators, the key to the city of New York, Chris Matthews’ Hardball Award, the Legion of Honour from France, the Jabara Award from the US Air Force, and the Tony Jannus Award. Additionally, his name will be forever known by aviators worldwide. We’d like to add GOTW to that list of accomplishments. Thank you Sully.

About the Author

avatar KALE: A geek who works in the IT field and lives in Dallas, TX. He is also a music geek who has played in several local bands. Previous to his IT career, Kale worked as a photojournalist. He brings technical advice and artistic counterpoint to the podcast.