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YE Co-Chair Sully Sullenberger Retires From Airlines

Sully Sullenberger
Sully Sullenberger retired from professional flying on March 3, 2010.

Sullenberger and Skiles
Sullenberger and Skiles are the Co-Chairmen of the EAA Young Eagles program.

March 3, 2010Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, known for his Hudson River landing in January 2009, retired from US Airways Wednesday afternoon, March 3, following a final flight from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to his base in Charlotte, North Carolina with First Officer Jeff Skiles. The two airmen were side-by-side when they performed a successful ditching in the Hudson on January 15, 2009, sparing all 155 souls on-board.

“I have been fortunate to have followed my passion for most of my life, working in a profession I dearly love, side by side with thousands of wonderful colleagues, including the man flying my final flight with me, Jeff Skiles,” Sullenberger said in a statement. Also retiring is Flight Attendant Doreen Welsh, who helped guide 150 passengers to safety on the same flight.

EAA Radio Listen to Sully's Last Flight

“Each generation of pilots hopes that they will leave their profession better off than they found it,” Sullenberger said. “In spite of the best efforts of thousands of my colleagues, that is not the case today.” Sullenberger, along with Skiles, became Co-Chairmen of the EAA Young Eagles program in September 2009 in part to inspire youth to become involved in aviation.

EAA Chairman/President Tom Poberezny sent Sully a congratulatory note personal note on his retirement and bid him and Skiles best wishes on their final flight to Charlotte. “All of EAA looks forward to seeing you in Oshkosh this summer,” Poberezny wrote.
In just over a year Sullenberger’s life has been a whirlwind, starting with testimony before congress on airline safety, speaking engagements, and the publication of a memoir. “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.” Advocacy seems to be the path for Skiles as well, as he has lobbied for better industry work rules and certification standards for pilots.

Sullenberger, 59, joined US Airways (PSA Airlines) in 1980. Flight attendant Doreen 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. We will miss them and thank them for all they have given to our customers during their years of service with our airline.”


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