'Miracle on the Hudson' pilot 'Sully' retires

Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger III, right, pilot of US Airways Flight 1549 that crashed into the Hudson River on Jan. 15, makes an appearance on CBS's "The Early Show" Monday, Feb. 9, 2009 in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow) (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

March 3, 2010 10:55:37 AM PST
US Airways has announced that Capt. Chesley 'Sully' Sullenberger, who piloted the 'Miracle on the Hudson' flight has retired, along with one of the flight attendants who was on the flight. Sullenberger, 59, joined US Airways (PSA Airlines) in 1980. In addition to his flying duties, he became a member of US Airways' flight operations safety management team in September 2009.

Doreen Welsh, one of the flight attendants on board that flight, is credited with helping guide 150 passengers to safety.

Welsh, 59, joined US Airways (Allegheny Airlines) in 1970 and has 39 years of experience with the airline. Both Sullenberger and Welsh are based out of US Airways' Charlotte hub.

US Airways Chairman and CEO Doug Parker said, "I am extremely proud of Captain Sullenberger and Doreen for their quick thinking and courageous actions on January 15, 2009. They exemplify the professionalism and training US Airways' more than 10,000 pilots and flight attendants demonstrate thousands of times every day across our airline. We will miss them and thank them for all they have given to our customers during their years of service with our airline."

Sullenberger will fly his final flight Wednesday afternoon, along with his co-pilot during the Hudson landing, First Officer Jeff Skiles. Sullenberger will end his 30-year career when he lands at his home base at Charlotte (N.C.) Douglas International Airport. He will officially retire at a private ceremony there with fellow pilots and other US Airways employees.

"Each generation of pilots hopes that they will leave their profession better off than they found it," Sullenberger said in a statement. "In spite of the best efforts of thousands of my colleagues, that is not the case today.

"Though I am retiring, I will continue to serve as the same kind of advocate I have always been - not only for aviation safety, but for the airline piloting profession. I will work to remind the entire industry - and those who manage and regulate it - that we have a sacred duty to our passengers to do the very best that we know how to do."

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)