Miracle on the Hudson Pilots Were Trained for Life


On January 15, 2009, the world watched as highly trained pilots landed US Airways Flight 1549 in the middle of New York City’s Hudson River. Within minutes of losing power in both engines, the five crewmembers onboard, along with the assistance of dozens of first responders in the NYC area, made a rare, unpowered ditching into the icy river and successfully evacuated all 150 passengers.

That day, Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger became another living demonstration of ALPA’s long-held assertion that the best and most important safety feature on any airplane is a well-trained, highly motivated professional pilot. Capt. Sullenberger had more than 19,000 total flight hours when he and First Officer Jeffrey Skiles made the “most successful ditching in aviation history.” Thanks to their training, not a single soul was lost.

And because of their experience, they have both become staunch supporters of tougher airline pilot training and experience requirements to keep flying safe. These requirements, enacted into law in 2010, have contributed to an unparalleled record of aviation safety in the U.S. There has not been a single U.S. airline passenger fatality since Congress and FAA implemented these new training and qualification rules, and last year was the safest year on record for global aviation.

Unfortunately, there are special-interest groups in Washington, D.C. trying to weaken these rules and make our skies less safe, but pilots and the flying public are standing up and fighting back. Nearly 100,000 commercial pilots are actively opposing legislation to weaken aviation safety rules, and some 40,000 letters were sent to Congress last year to stop the special interests from weakening these critical safety regulations.

Pilots are Trained for Life to ensure that the safest place on Earth will always be in the air. 31 million flights per year. 2.5 million passengers a day. And zero U.S. airline passenger fatalities since 2010. As we reflect on this extraordinary safety record and pause to remember the heroism of the crew of Flight 1549, please take a moment to #ThankAPilot for keeping our skies safe.

Categories: Advocacy
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