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AFA Praises Graduate For Heroic Piloting During Crash

By: Leslie Fichera Email
By: Leslie Fichera Email
Chesley B.

Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger III as an Air Force Academy cadet.

The Air Force Academy has issued a news release, saying they want to join the thousands of citizens around the nation thanking the pilot of U.S. Airways Flight 1549, an AFA graduate, for piloting a safe water landing in the Hudson River Thursday.

Chesley B. Sullenberger III, 57, maneuvered his crippled jet, with 155 people on board to safety after two engines were disabled by a bird strike.

All 155 people on board survived.

Here is the Air Force Academy's news release praising Sullenberger for his heroic landing:

A 1973 U.S. Air Force Academy graduate’s aviation skills and character were put to the ultimate test Jan. 15.

Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger III, was pilot of a U.S. Airways Airbus 320 which crashed into the Hudson River, between New York and New Jersey.

As the evacuation was taking place, media reports say Sullenberger walked up and down the passenger cabin twice to make sure everyone else had safely evacuated before he exited the aircraft.

“On behalf of the U.S. Air Force Academy and our graduates, I would like to join the thousands of people around the nation commending ‘Sully’ Sullenberger III, a 1973 Air Force Academy graduate, for his heroic actions yesterday. He not only showcased unbelievable airmanship, but exemplary character as well. In addition to superb judgment under utmost pressure, by checking his aircraft twice to ensure there were no passengers left behind, he epitomized the ‘Service Before Self’ concept we strive to instill in our cadets. Well done, classmate! “ said Lt. Gen. John Regni, Air Force Academy Superintendent and a fellow 1973 Air Force Academy graduate.

Cadets at the Air Force Academy spoke with 11 News on Friday. They say they're proud to see one of their own do well in an emergency situation. They say it all goes back to the intense training Sullenberger received during his time at the academy.

"He was faced with a situation that was not ptimal and he did his best. He did a great job and he showed a lot of leadership and character in that," said Cadet First Class Justin Ledvina, with the 94th Flight Training Squadron.

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