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October 01, 2009

Sully Flies Again: Live Blog

Chesley Sullenberger


6:30 a.m.  I spot Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger (right) and First Officer Jeff Skiles outside a food court at Charlotte Douglas International.  They were on their way to the crew room. Flight's on schedule!

7:00 a.m.  Gate check.  I shoot a quick video.  Please excuse the camerawork!

7: 26 a.m. So...I'm at the gate for Flight 1050 from Charlotte to New York LaGuardia--as we reported yesterday, this is Sully's real first flight back. US Airways would have everyone think the flight back to Charlotte later today is the first one.  Amazingly the airline seems to have kept a pretty tight lid on the news.  No "welcome back" banners at the gate, no TV trucks parked at the terminal.

But still, it was inevitable that word would be get out.  A crowd of US Airways suits was the tip off.  Then Sully and Jeff Skiles, his first officer on flight 1549, showed up and boarded the plane.

Word is now spreading around the waiting crowd. 

I had bumped into the duo as they were getting coffee in a food court a half hour earlier. Sully was gracious though when he learned that I'm a reporter, he quickly set out the ground rules for our encounter:  "I'm not doing any one on ones."  He averred that he's 'glad to flying with Jeff."  Then a minder showed up to inform the planes that "there's no plane yet," so they headed off to the crew lounge.

OK  they just called the flight.

7:44 a.m. Overheard on the jetway:  "Oh no!  I don't want to land in the Hudson!"

7:45 a.m. Sully gives a "This is captain...."  Everyone cheers!

9:35 a.m. We just landed--right on time. It was a textbook perfect landing, but then again it couldn't be anything but.


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