Skip to main content

Commentary: US Airways pilot deserves thanks

  • Story Highlights
  • Brown lauds pilot for avoiding New York buildings
  • She says he and crew deserve thanks from passengers, New Yorkers
  • Event is a reminder that pilots do their best to deliver us in one piece, she says
  • Next Article in U.S. »

Editor's note: Campbell Brown anchors CNN's "Campbell Brown: No Bias, No Bull" at 8 p.m. ET Mondays through Fridays. She delivered this commentary during the "Cutting through the Bull" segment of Friday night's broadcast.

CNN's Campbell Brown says the US Airways pilot deserves the praise showered on him.

CNN's Campbell Brown says the US Airways pilot deserves the praise showered on him.

(CNN) -- Up in the sky, it's a bird! It's a plane! It's Superman!

By now, you know Chesley B. Sullenberger III, or "Sully,"as a hero. But you may not realize just how much he and co-pilot Jeffrey Skiles did in those six terrifying minutes between engine failure and ditching in the icy water.

We've all watched the mind-boggling images and can't believe anyone, much less everyone, would escape the harsh, freezing conditions of the Hudson River.

Everyone has given the crew much-deserved credit for saving the lives of 155 people. They also saved hundreds, maybe thousands, in the skyscrapers that line Manhattan.

Imagine if luck, or more importantly, years of training and cool heads had not prevailed. The people who live and work here in New York have seen too much pain from aviation disasters -- 9/11, TWA flight 800 and American flight 587, to name a few.

Yesterday, Sullenberger was in the right place. He's been flying for 40-plus years and this former Air Force fighter pilot also served as safety chairman and accident investigator for the Air Line Pilots Association, already helping the NTSB in other accident investigations. If that isn't enough, he founded his own company that consults businesses on -- you guessed it -- safety.

Right after hitting the water, after the life rafts deployed, he personally went up and down the cabin twice to make sure everybody was out.

'No Bias, No Bull'
Get the latest on the day's main events.
8 ET Monday through Friday

There is only one regret to take away from this: We may never know the true extent of the heroism showed by the pilots of the planes we've lost.

But in troubled times, we needed a win, and we got one. It's a reminder that the next time we get on an airliner, no one will do more to get us there in one piece than the people sitting at the controls.


And speaking on behalf of all New Yorkers, we thank you, "Sully," for getting us home in one piece, too.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Campbell Brown.

All About U.S. National Transportation Safety BoardUS Airways Group Inc.

  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print