Miracle on the Hudson rescue
The captain on flight 1549 pulled off a remarkable rescue on the Hudson River in 2009. Image: /davidwatts 1978/Flickr/CC BY

The U.S. Airways jet that made a miraculous landing on the Hudson River two years ago finally reached its Charlotte, N.C. destination on Friday. The Carolinas Aviation Museum will become the damaged craft’s permanent home. It has been housed at a Newark, N.J. hangar since the crash.

An amazing rescue

In 2009, Flight 1549 was bound for Charlotte, N.C. It had just taken off from New York’s LaGuardia airport on Jan. 15, when it was disabled by a flock of seagulls. Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who has since been honored as a hero, brought the craft down for an emergency landing in the Hudson River. All 155 passengers and crew were safely rescued.

Thousands line the roads

The 120-foot fuselage made a slow, 600-mile journey by flatbed truck from New Jersey to the North Carolina museum. The wings had been removed and shipped earlier. Thousands of people have lined the roads of several states to watch the progress of the craft.

‘Surprising and wonderful’

Pilot Sullenberger said, “When I see images of people in their lawn chairs waiting for the airplane to roll by on the freeway overpass with a camera to get a glimpse of it is surprising and wonderful.”

A catalyst for change

Sullenberger, who recently became an aviation and safety expert for CBS News, commented on how the event changed his life. “I was completely anonymous,” he said. “I had never done any public speaking before in my entire life. Now it’s my main job.”

The event has changed others as well. “For many, it’s become an impetus for change,” Sullenberger continued. “[It became] a catalyst for living a more authentic, fuller life. For me, it’s given me the ability to be an advocate of important things.” He has since become an advocate for flight safety and improved working conditions for pilots.

‘Finally come home’

Eileen Shleffar, who was a passenger on the ill-fated flight, said, “My flight has finally come home.” She and fellow passengers posed for photos with the fuselage when it arrived at the Charlotte/Douglas International Airport. “It’s emotional,” she added.

A reception planned

A reception will be held Saturday to honor the passengers and the crew of the flight that has become know as “the miracle on the Hudson.” Sullenberger will speak at the event. It will be the first time the passenger and crew members have been reunited since the incident.

Sources

Charlotte Observer: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2011/05/30/2337627/final-leg-of-flight-1549.html
WCTI 12: http://www.wcti12.com/news/28183674/detail.html
Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2011/06/10/general-us-plane-on-river-final-trip_8511064.html

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