Sully Speaks

Monday, Feb 2, 2009  |  Updated 11:26 PM EDT
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Sully Speaks

AP

The 57-year-old pilot saved 154 passengers and crew members when he set Flight 1549 down in the Hudson River after the plane lost power.

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The hero pilot who safely landed a US Airways plane in the Hudson finally broke his silence and said he felt "calm on the outside, turmoil inside" when he realized he would have to splash land in the river.

Chesley Sullenberger, known as Sully, described the moment he lost both engines when the plane hit a flock of birds after taking off from LaGuardia airport on Jan. 15 as "surreal" and "shocking," according to ESPN's Rick Reilly.  

"It was very quiet as we worked, my co-pilot and I," Sully said during his first interview since the crash. "We were a team. But to have zero thrust coming out of those engines was shocking -- the silence."

The 57-year-old pilot saved 154 passengers and crew members when he set Flight 1549 down in the Hudson River after the plane lost power. He said he felt "calm on the outside, turmoil inside" as he was at the helm while the plane descended toward the river.

Wife Lori Sullenberger said the couple spends evenings opening fan mail.

"It allows both of us to express emotion about it," she told ESPN. "We both sit there and cry."

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