Sullenberger and Skiles Crowd Favorites at AirVenture

When US Airways Flight 1549 splashed down on the Hudson River in January, Captain Chesley Sullenberger and Copilot Jeffrey Skiles became instant celebrities. They attended President Obama's inauguration, made the rounds of television talk shows, and continue to be a huge draw as motivational speakers. But their best audience was probably the overflow crowds who attended their forum and evening presentations at EAA AirVenture. Sullenberger said, "This is just phenomenal. It is fun to be in the same place with people who have the same passion I have had since I was 10." As they have done countless times, the two pilots recounted the events of the five and a half minute flight out of New York LaGuardia Airport. They were careful to share credit for the "miracle" ditching with their fellow crew members Sheila Dail, Doreen Welsh and Donna Dent. All 155 passengers were saved in one of the most uplifting stories of a time when economic uncertainty has had the country-and the whole world-craving any measure of good news we can find. But with all the plaudits, Skiles brought the reality back to Earth with his observation: "The dog still has to be washed, the trash still goes out. At home, life is the same. It's just that sometimes we get to go out to events like this."