"Miracle on the Hudson" Pair Return to the Skies

"It's a beautiful day for flying," Sully told giddy passengers

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Getty Images
    US Airway pilot Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger sits in the cockpit of a US Airways flight moments before take-off from LaGuardia Airport on his first official day back in the cockpit on October 1, 2009 in New York, New York.

    Hero pilot Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger was flying high today -- piloting his first flight since the incredible "Miracle on the Hudson" splash landing that made him a legend.

    "Ladies and gentlemen, this is Captain Sullenberger," he said as passengers on board US Airways Flight 1050 erupted in applause this morning, according to the New York Daily News.

    Capt. Chesley Sullenberger Pre-Checks Plane on First Flight Back

    [NY] Capt. Chesley Sullenberger Pre-Checks Plane on First Flight Back
    "It's like being home again," Sully says of being back in the pilot's seat. (Published Thursday, Oct 1, 2009)

    "It's a beautiful day for flying. We expect nice weather -- smooth flying all the way," he said, according to the News.

    The New York City-bound flight left Charlotte, N.C., at 7:55 a.m. this morning with 68 passengers on board -- as Sully and first officer Jeff Skiles, who co-piloted the infamous January flight, took the helm.

    "It' very easy ... to pick back up where you left off," Sully told reporters after he landed at La Guardia Airport.

    The modest captain, who said it was smooth flying from the Carolinas to New York, felt a duty to come back to the profession that he loves so much.

    "I felt an obligation to my profession, to my company to come back," he said. "The US Airways family is my family." 

    As the plane touched down in New York at 9:31 a.m. spectators flocked to the windows near Gate 15 to try to catch a glimpse of the hero pilot, according to the News.

    "That's our hero!" someone shouted as the plane landed, the News reported.

    "I feel like I'm flying with angels," Linda Culbertson, 68, told the News. "What a great omen. I mentioned him in my prayers last night. I told God I hoped I would get a pilot as good as Sully. This is an answer to my prayers." 

    Sully and Skiles then piloted a flight back down to Charlotte that landed at about 3 p.m., and completed the trip they started over nine months ago.

    "Jeff and I have done what we wanted to do today," Sullenberged said in a press conference after the landing. "We finished the trip we couldnt finish in january."

    He said it felt "very famliar. It was like coming home."

    Sully, however, noted once between the trip today and the one on Jan 15.

    "This flight today was a lot longer than the one in January, and I was able to give [US Airways CEO Doug Parker] back his airplane -- without getting it wet."

    Sully hadn't flown since January when a gaggle of geese blew out his plane's engines, forcing him to make the city's most famous emergency landing.

    Since then, he's been working on a book due out in October and he's earned the title "active management pilot," which will give him a place on U.S. Airway's safety management team.

    Co-pilot Skiles completed re-qualification training in April and has flown more than 60 flights since then. Sullenberger completed his training on September 11.