State News

Charlotte honors crew of U.S. Airways Flight 1549

Posted February 25, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

— Officials in Charlotte honored the crew of US Airways Flight 1549, which landed safely in the Hudson River.

Mayor Pat McCrory, who led the ceremony in the meeting chamber of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center, declared Wednesday as Heroes Day in honor of the crew.

US Airways pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger Flight 1549 flight crew honored in Charlotte

“The outpouring of support that received from around the world is amazing but none more than here in Charlotte. It is wonderful to see all of your faces again,” US Airways pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger said during the ceremony.

Sullenberger glided the Airbus A320, bound for Charlotte, down into the Hudson River on Jan. 15. The plane landed in one piece and all 155 people aboard survived the water landing.

Sullenberger said he plans to return to work for the airline in a couple months.

"As time has passed, I can understand why people feel the way they do and how they've been looking for good news and a reason to be hopeful again,” Sullenberger said.

Flight attendants did not comment on when or if they plan to return to work.

The crew received a proclamation, an official city pin and commemorative bricks from NASCAR executives. Permanent bricks will be placed outside of the NASCAR Hall of Fame currently under construction.

About 45 Charlotte-area passengers of Flight 1549 attended the public event.

“It has been nice to hear some of the stories, (and) reconnect with some of the other passengers that I was sitting next to,” passenger Jay McDonald said.

"Every day is just one sweet breath that I could have not lived if he had not done what he did,” passenger Mark Hood said.

Passenger Nick Gamache, of Raleigh, said he will probably celebrate the anniversary of the Hudson landing for the rest of his life.

The jetliner lost power in both engines when it hit Canada geese after takeoff from New York's LaGuardia Airport.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • Pilot Feb 25, 2009

    Way to work Sully! If you can fly an F 104, you can fly anything! LOL Proud of you man!

  • CestLaVie Feb 25, 2009

    I agree with you, Bob. It was nice and everyone is proud of them and we need more people like this, but how about we let these people get back to the lives, now, that they want to lead. Give them a chance to go about their everyday business instead of being cited constantly as a hero.

    UNCfan: I think they are not saying no to these requests because they are being collectively polite & know what this nation needs, but.........there must be a limit. Who chooses when that limit is reached? Perhaps one is urging them on because of a love of being in the spotlight & the others aren't saying no to that one.

    I think Capt Sullenberger is too humble to say no but would like his privacy back, full-time.

  • BigUNCFan Feb 25, 2009


    If it is all that painful to be at the Superbowl and the State of the Union and all of that other stuff, then these folks can just say no thanks. They must be enjoying it on some level or they would not accept the invites.

  • Bob3425 Feb 25, 2009

    I agree we need heros, my point is they need to be left alone for they can get on with their lives and not have to keep re-living that event. Trust me there is stress when everyone keep calling you a hero. I may be wrong but I would bet they would like to get back to their routines and their life.

  • GB74 Feb 25, 2009

    Ok. First, McCroy ahs already lost the election, the next one will not be for over three years from now. I seriously doubt he is doing this for political gain. He is the mayor of the city where the airline was supposed to be headed. Most of the passengers on that plane live in or near Charlotte. This time the passengers, along with their families, will have the chance to honor the flight crew. So why not back off the politics accusation. Someone tried to do something good and they get is blasted for it. America was built on herosim. The more events like these are displayed to the publi, the more the public will think like them.

  • 37 Feb 25, 2009

    I think you forgot to say "heros", tgw. Heroes in any case.

    "Ok, this is stupid and just a ploy for McCroy to put himself in the spotlight." Yep!

  • ThisIsMyName Feb 25, 2009

    Ok, this is stupid and just a ploy for McCroy to put himself in the spotlight.

  • tgw Feb 25, 2009

    Heros-we need more heros today because we have so many rip off artists around us. Heros make us happy to be here and gives reason to celebrate. In today's sullen world of recession and distrust of many institutions, heros are few and far between.

    God bless them.

  • texasncgirl Feb 25, 2009

    I'm with you all the way Milkman!

  • Milkman Feb 25, 2009

    I see your point, but in this day and age where the FDA ignores tainted syringes and allows people to die, and the USDA ignores rotten peanuts and allows people to die, and the SEC allows Madoff to make off with billions of dollars, the times where someone "just does thier job" and saves lives is getting more rare. We need to hold these people up and make them a good example. Like the State Trooper who dove in the river, and the countless firemen who go above and beyond.

    We need heros in the hope it'll shame the zeros at the FDA, USDA and SEC into doing their jobs.