HIGHEST DUTY: My Search for What Really Matters

Thursday, October 15, 2009

by Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, with Jeffrey Zaslow. William Morrow, 352 pp.

The first of many disasters and near-disasters recounted by the hero of the so-called "Miracle on the Hudson," is chilling, yet instructive. On 15 Jan. 2009, more than 40 years later, Sullenberger  would avoid fatal errors when US Airways Flight 1549 suffered a bird strike after a routine takeoff from LaGuardia Airport. Calling upon a lifetime of experience - including 19,700 hours of flying time and service as a crash investigator - Sully guided the engineless 150,000-pound Airbus to an emergency landing in the icy waters of the Hudson River. It's no spoiler to say that all 155 passengers and crew survived, and that Sully became an American hero. About the so-called miracle: Sully contends that experience, pilot judgment and dedication to airline safety are what actually saved the day. As Sully tells it, "My entire life led me safely to that river."

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