As long as he lives, U.S. Airways Captain Chesley Sullenberger will travel the land to tell the amazing story of his successful emergency landing on the Hudson River in January; this morning found him in Washington to testify during hearings held by the National Transportation Safety Board on air safety and the growing threat of bird strikes. (According to the Times, researchers counted 229 people killed and 210 aircraft destroyed as a result of bird strikes in the last 20 years.) And yesterday the Smithsonian Institution announced that isotopic analysis of goose remains found in Flight 1549's engines confirmed that the birds were migratory, thus suggesting that habitat destruction would not have prevented the accident.
Speaking to the NTSB this morning, Sully urged the implementation of new technologies to scare away birds in flight, like using landing lights as strobe lights to make a plane more conspicuous to birds as it takes off. Disco runways sound fun, and Sully's other suggestion will only enhance the "runway rave" vibe: "Maybe there’s some other technology out there, a radar that some innovative company can come up with to zap the birds out of the way."
And of course, swooning officials got him to tell the incredible river landing story one more time, which Sully handled with signature modesty: "We did the best we could. My highest priority had to be to avoid passenger injury. I wish I could've told them it was a water landing. It was a balancing act." Sully also revealed he had never experienced a bird strike like that one, where there were so many large birds that were “filling the entire windscreen.”