Saturday, January 17, 2009
New York - January 17, 2009 - Following the heroic landing of a United Airlines jet into the Hudson River in New York City on Thursday, former colleagues of Captain C.B. Sullenberger have come forward, saying he would often joke that the river looked like a great place to land a plane, and that someday he'd do it, said a statement by the Non-Associated Press.
Several current and former FAA employees came forward on Saturday, said an NTSB representative. Their statements all seemed to concur that Sully's quick-witted antics often referred to landing an airplane in the Hudson River. One source claimed that the veteran pilot referenced it as recently as a month ago.
"He wouldn't just joke about it, he was serious," said former co-pilot T.W. Flipjack. "Sully studied the concept of water landings in a deep, determined way. The demeanor when he talked; he was determined to prove it."
"I always thought he was kidding," said Thurston "Thurky" Thornton III, "You know, to demonstrate his confidence. He was always like that at the academy."
Another source explained that Sullenberger's experience as an accident investigator qualified him to understand the dynamics of a water landing. While this makes sense to some, an investigation by U.S. Airways and the NTSB said there is no obvious connection that the pilot was intent on making a water ditch on purpose.