As everyone continues to marvel how all 155 passengers and crew members were rescued from the U.S. Airways Flight 1549 that landed in the Hudson River, they are ready to call Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger a hero.
In fact, many of the passengers—not to mention witnesses who saw the dramatic landing—already are and Mayor Bloomberg, who noted that the 27-year U.S. Airways veteran (and former Air Force pilot) walked the plane twice to make sure everyone was out, said Sullenberger's decision-making was "masterful." And the NY Times reports, though there is a lot to take in ("investigators will try to figure out why this one plane, flying through some of the world’s most congested airspace, was the only one to report a bird problem"), "From early indications, it appears the pilot handled the emergency river landing with aplomb and avoided major injuries, evacuating the plane, an Airbus A320, calmly in the middle of the river, passengers and officials said."
Passenger Jeff Kolodjay, who was in seat 22A, said, "All of a sudden the captain came on and he told us to brace ourselves and probably brace ourselves pretty hard. But he did an amazing job -- kudos to him on that landing." And Sullenberger's wife Lorrie had no idea what had happened until she got a call, "I hadn't been watching the news. I've heard Sully say to people, 'It's rare for an airline pilot to have an incident in their career.' When he called me he said, 'There's been an accident.' At first I thought it was something minor, but then he told me the circumstances and my body started shaking and I rushed to get our daughters out of school." She added, "He is the consummate pilot."
A police source told the Daily News, "That pilot is a stud. After the crash, he was sitting there in the ferry terminal, wearing his hat, sipping his coffee and acting like nothing happened." And here's Sullenberger's resume at The Smoking Gun—he has his own consulting company.