Sully's Co-Pilot to Fly Again This Month | NBC New York

Sully's Co-Pilot to Fly Again This Month

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    Capt. Chesley Sullenberger III (L) and First Officer Jeffrey Skiles (R) glance at each other during a hearing on Capitol Hill.

    The co-pilot of the plane that splashed down in New York's Hudson River in January said Wednesday that he will return to the air by the end of this month.

      First officer Jeffrey Skiles said he will first do some simulated flights to reacquaint himself with flying an Airbus A320 plane.
     
    "When you normally have an incident you have post-traumatic shock symptoms and I did myself for the first week, week and a
     half," Skiles said. "I got over it pretty fast."
     
    Skiles, 49, of Oregon, Wis., said he is OK now after having trouble sleeping immediately after the incident.
     
    Airline experts have said that landing the US Airways plane in the river with all 155 passengers surviving was a nearly impossible feat. Flight 1549 crossed paths with a flock of Canada geese less than two minutes after taking off from LaGuardia Airport, stopping both engines. The plane's captain, Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, glided the plane into the river after concluding it could not reach an airport.
     
    Skiles was awarded a trophy and received two long standing ovations at an air traffic controllers' union meeting Wednesday in Las Vegas.
     
    "Everything went our way," Skiles told the controllers who gave him a 35-second standing ovation when he was introduced.
     
    "People want to relate it and say it's luck, divine intervention or heroism but my thought was everybody was just doing their jobs," he said.
     
    The National Air Traffic Controllers Association also honored Sullenberger, air traffic controllers Patrick Harten from New York Terminal Radar Approach Control in Westbury, N.Y., and Bill McLoughlin from LaGuardia Tower, and three flight attendants. Sullenberger and the flight attendants were not in attendance.
     
    Sullenberger has not said when he will return to flying, but wrote in a first-person Newsweek essay that he thought he would be ready in a few months.
     
    Skiles said he expects to be on a normal schedule working four to five days per week when he returns. He said simulated flights are normal for pilots who have taken breaks from flying, even those coming back from a regular two-week vacation.
     
    Skiles, who testified about the incident before a House subcommittee last week and appeared on "The Late Show with David Letterman" last month, said he thinks his fame has nearly run its course. He expects to fly until he retires at age 65.
     
    "I see no future in being a long-term celebrity," Skiles said.