Hero pilot plans return to New York

February 6, 2009 11:32:24 AM PST
New York City never got a chance to say a proper thank you to the hero pilot who miraculously landed US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River last month, saving the lives of all 155 on board. Now he's coming back for his hero's welcome. This trip for Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger should be a bit more pleasant than his last visit.

He and his family plan to take in a Broadway show and perhaps enjoy a little free time in the city that Mayor Michael Bloomberg says is inspired by his "brave actions."

Sullenberger and his flight crew are set to be honored by Bloomberg at City Hall on Monday, where they will be given a key to the city.

The pilot and the mayor last spoke at the scene of the rescue operation on Manhattan's west side, just hours after Sullenberger glided the Airbus A320 into the frigid water in what Gov. David Paterson called a "miracle on the Hudson."

Both engines lost power in the Jan. 15 incident - a moment that Sullenberger says in a new interview was "the worst sickening, pit-of-your-stomach, falling-through-the-floor feeling" he's ever had.

Sullenberger recently sat down with Katie Couric for that CBS "60 Minutes" interview, which will air Sunday. The man responsible for saving 150 passengers and his entire crew told Couric that New York City's first responders also deserve gratitude for the quick mid-river rescue.

He said "thank you seems totally inadequate."

After that interview airs, Sullenberger is scheduled to continue a media blitz with appearances Monday on both ABC's "Good Morning America" and CBS' "The Early Show." CBS is devoting its entire show to the story of Flight 1549, and will speak with the rest of the crew and Sullenberger's family.

The pilot and crew are also set to appear on CNN's "Larry King Live" and CBS' "Late Show with David Letterman."

Sullenberger did not do media interviews immediately after the crash because he was still working with officials investigating the cause.

He also could not attend a City Hall ceremony where Bloomberg honored rescue workers who rushed to the scene of the crash landing to pluck survivors off the wings of the floating jet.

Before Monday's media interviews and City Hall ceremony, the Sullenberger family is set to spend some time on the town.

The pilot, along with his wife and two daughters, are scheduled to attend one of Broadway's hottest shows, "South Pacific." They have also been invited backstage to meet the stars.

To listen to the raw recording, go to http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/video?id=6642903.