Posted tagged ‘Sully’

Man Survives Hudson River Crash Then Loses Job

April 17, 2009

Frank Scudere thought that all was good in the world when he survived the crash of flight 1549.

Now, Scudere finds himself in the same position as thousands of others across the country,

looking for work.


In seat 24B as US Airways Flight 1549 fell silently toward the Hudson River, attorney Frank Scudere did not know that his name was on the list of lawyers that his firm planned to lay off the next morning.

In a one-in-a-million event, Scudere and his fellow passengers survived the plane’s river ditching on Jan. 15, and he walked away with nothing worse than wet clothes. But he could not escape an everyday event that has claimed millions of other victims: He lost his job and found himself questioning his self worth.

Now he’s a 48-year-old unemployed attorney. Like the Biblical Job, who lost and gained everything, Scudere searches for an elusive meaning in suffering and redemption. He’s grateful, a bit angry and reflective. “I don’t feel sorry for myself,” he said. “It just shows the randomness of life, and the inevitability of loss. You can lose, and yet you can still be preserved. I lost my job, and yet I have my life.”

Pilot Describes Final Moments Before US Airways Crash

February 9, 2009

Chesley Sullenberger, the pilot who ditched his jetliner in the Hudson River and saved the lives of everyone on board, said he had a “sickening” feeling when a flock of birds disabled both engines with violent thuds, crippling the plane over New York City.

From the Associated Press:

Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger said in an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” that the sound of the geese hitting the plane and the smell of burning poultry entering the cabin was “shocking.”

“Oh, you could hear them,” he said. “Loud thumps. It felt like the airplane being pelted by heavy rain or hail. It sounded like the worst thunderstorm I’d ever heard growing up in Texas.”

The interview with Sullenberger and the other four crew members was broadcast Sunday, their first since US Airways Flight 1549 landed in the frigid water Jan. 15.

Sullenberger took control of the plane from his first officer and glided it to safety, but said that in the aftermath of the emergency landing, he lay awake at night second-guessing his performance, even though all 155 people aboard survived.

He said he initially had trouble forgiving himself because he thought he could have done something different in that “critical situation.”

“The first few nights were the worst,” Sullenberger said. “When the `what ifs’ started.”

He said he no longer regrets his actions that day, calling his decision to land in the river “the only viable alternative” to attempting a return to LaGuardia Airport or landing at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey.

“The only level, smooth place sufficiently large to land an airliner was the river,” he said, recalling that the plane had no thrust and was “descending rapidly.”

Sullenberger, a former Air Force fighter pilot who has flown commercial planes for nearly three decades, said he knew he had to touch down with the wings level and the nose slightly up, and “at a descent rate that was survivable.”

“Did you, at any point, pray?” CBS’ Katie Couric asked.

“I would imagine somebody in back was taking care of that for me while I was flying the airplane,” he said.

The flight attendants said they didn’t know they were landing in the water until it happened.

“When I got out of my seat and saw that water, it was the most shocked I’ve ever been in my life,” flight attendant Doreen Welsh said, adding that her emotions “had gone through, within seconds, accepting death and seeing life.”

She said she then “went crazy” and started yelling and pushing people to get them out because the impact tore a hole in the plane’s tail and water poured into the cabin.

“And as I was getting up, I thought I might actually live,” Welsh said. “`Cause a second ago, I thought I was gone.”

Sullenberger landed the plane near two ferry terminals, and rescue boats appeared within minutes to take the 150 passengers and five crew members to safety.

When the pilot got official confirmation that everyone had survived, “I felt like the weight of the universe had been lifted off my heart,” he said.

The crew met some of the passengers and their relatives at a reunion in Charlotte, N.C., the destination of Flight 1549.

“More than one woman came up to me and said, `Thank you for not making me a widow,'” Sullenberger said. “‘Thank you for allowing my 3-year-old son to have a father.'”

One passenger asked Sullenberger to sign his shirt.

“Where, right there?” Sullenberger replied. “You got it. Let me make it big and bold.”

US Airways Pilot Becomes a Facebook Phenomena

January 19, 2009

Social-media services company Vitrue reports that Captain Chesley B. Sullenberger III, the US Airways pilot who landed his jet safely in the Hudson River last week, has become a viral phenomenon after more than 300,000 users became fans of him via a Facebook page created by Vitrue.

I’m a fan, are you?

From MediaPost Publications:

At its peak on Saturday, 215 people a minute were becoming fans of Capt. Chesley B. Sullenberger III on a Facebook page set up to honor the pilot of US Airways Flight 1549.

That page was created by an employee of social media services provider Vitrue at 10 p.m. on Thursday, the day Sullenberger landed the disabled plane in New York City’s Hudson River, to honor “a real hero.” Ten hours later, there were 18,000 fans and 1,800 posts on Sullenberger’s wall. By 2 p.m. on Sunday, there were more than 300,000 fans and 14,000 wall posts.

Posters range from Shazo Wazo in Brighton and Hove, England, who wrot: “Well done mate, excellent job you’ve done. Bloody marvelous,” to Robert K. Rodriguez of New York, who simultaneously wrote: “god bless you brotha, you can be my pilot any day !!!”

Meanwhile, Vitrue’s Social Media Index was showing scores for US Airways soaring since Thursday. At their peak, the airline’s scores were up 171% from its December average, reaching a three-day average of plus-135%. The Index is a proprietary reporting technology that measures a brand’s online conversations.

Vitrue CEO Reggie Bradford tells Marketing Daily that this “crystallizes the amplification effect social media can uniquely deliver on a cause or brand. If brands can conjure up the right mix of ingredients, there are millions upon millions of passionate consumers who will take social actions.”

The first photo of the airliner sitting in the river was posted on Twitter by someone on board one of the ferries that raced to the rescue of 155 passengers and crew, creating a stir among social media fans and mainstream journalists who debated its importance in the days following the event.

“This is a compelling story which illustrates the power of how truly interconnected, influenced and inspired we are by each other’s thoughts and actions,” says Bradford. “From a business perspective, we think it is important for brands to take note of these passionate and engaged audiences who need a forum in good times and bad.”

The amazing growth in the number of the pilot’s fans certainly speaks well for the newly created Sullenberger brand. That and the story behind it are a boon for an airline that has filed for bankruptcy twice over the past several years, lost 75,000 bags two holiday seasons ago and last year became the first airline to charge for coffee and tea.

Twitter Once Again Scoops Mainstream Media on US Airways Crash

January 16, 2009

While the heroic landing of a US Airways jet in New York’s Hudson River continues to make headlines, it was news on Twitter well before the first camera crews arrived.

We also saw pictures taken from citizen journalists that informed much of the reports early on, including a picture Tweeted by Janis Krums that has now been looked at nearly 100,000 times. The power of social media!

From Social Media Today:

The plane crash in the Hudson River in New York yesterday, is front page news also here in Sweden. It’s a fascinating story with a happy ending for the 155 people onboard thanks to a heroic performance by the pilot and his crew. And once more we see the power in social media when it comes to reporting breaking news in real time. My colleague Erin Byrne has a good description about how she heard the news first via Twitter.

“I first learned of the story via a “newsbreak” type alert from Twitter to my mobile phone.”

Among the very first reports was a Twitter post by Janis Krums from Sarasota, Florida, who was on a ferry that arrived on the scene just a few minutes after the plane had crashed into the freezing water. People were standing on the wings waiting to be rescued when Krums posted a note – There’s a plane in the Hudson. I’m on the ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy.” The photo he took from his iPhone was probably the first to be posted online and it has already been viewed more than 90,000 times on TwitPic alone.

Only thirty-four minutes after Krums had posted his photo online he was interviewed live on TV by MSNBC (video here). Other traditional media also reached out via social media to get hold of eyewitness stories. The Charlotte Observer first sent a news alert via Twitter and then posted several requests on Twitter. via TwitPic:

BREAKING: US Airways Flt.1549, bound for Charlotte, has crashed into the Hudson River in New York City. Updates at

If anybody sees passengers or witnesses on crashed jet twittering, pls DM to Observer

we’re looking for stringers with a journalism background for tonight in suburban New Jersey. DM to the Observer

we’re looking for stringers with a journalism background for tonight in suburban New Jersey. DM to the Observer #planecrash

#flight1549 Contact the Observer if you were on the plane – we’d love to tell your story. DM this address

#Hudson #USAirways Contact the Observer if you were on the plane – we’d love to tell your story!

The pilot Sully Sullenberger already has 22 fan groups on Facebook and there is even a Swedish one. Well deserved.

Probe Begins in US Airways Crash

January 16, 2009

Investigators are making preparations to pull the crashed US Airways jetliner out of the Hudson River and begin a probe into the cause of the crash.

From the Washington Post:

Investigators positioned a giant marine crane and a barge at the site in Lower Manhattan where the Airbus A320 lies largely submerged in the river, tethered to a pier until it can be hauled out for detailed inspection. The barge sat beside the downed plane, of which only the tail section and one wing were visible above the water.

Meanwhile, investigation teams led by the National Transportation Safety Board gathered at a downtown hotel to plot out the initial phase of the investigation. Authorities have not yet announced the cause of the crash, but preliminary indications were that it probably hit a flock of birds shortly after takeoff from New York’s LaGuardia Airport en route to Charlotte.

In a news conference to honor first responders, as well as the five-member crew of Flight 1549, New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said the prompt and efficient rescue effort showed “the indomitable spirit of our city,” adding, “No matter how bad things get, New Yorkers can get through anything.”

“This is a story of heroes,” he said. “This is something right out of a movie script.”

Bloomberg said he was holding onto a golden key to the city to be awarded to the plane’s crew until he can present it personally. He said the captain, Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger III, is enjoined from speaking publicly about the accident while the NTSB is investigating. Sullenberger, co-pilot Jeff Skiles and three flight attendants not yet publicly identified have been widely hailed for their actions in ditching the plane safely in the frigid waters of the Hudson and safely evacuating the 150 passengers.