NEW YORK - World-renowned pilot and author Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger has been named CBS News Aviation and Safety Expert. His appointment is effective immediately after being announced today by CBS News Chairman and "60 Minutes" executive producer Jeff Fager and David Rhodes, president, CBS News. In this role, Sullenberger will provide analysis of aviation safety and contribute to CBS News broadcasts and platforms across the news division.
"Sully is an American treasure and it is a real thrill to have him on our team at CBS News," said Fager. "I am a huge fan of Sully's. He is a remarkable person who has a great ability to turn his significant experience into useful insights. He will help our viewers better understand the stories involving safety and air travel that seem to pop up all of the time."
"Sully is a genuine hero--everyone at CBS News is excited to have him as a colleague," said Rhodes. "He wants to share his insights not only on aviation, but on a whole range of safety and leadership issues that confront us each day."
"I am very pleased to join the remarkable team at CBS News," said Sullenberger, "and I am eager to contribute to an organization I have long respected for its award-winning reputation of superior reporting."
After logging nearly 20,000 hours of service in the skies, Sullenberger became an international hero on January 15, 2009, when he and his crew safely guided US Airways Flight 1549 to an emergency water landing in New York City's frigid Hudson River. The Airbus A320's two engines had lost thrust following a bird strike. His quick thinking and decisive action enabled him to execute an incredible emergency water landing that saved the lives of all 155 people aboard. Sullenberger and his crew won international acclaim for their actions that day, including the passage of a Congressional resolution recognizing their bravery.
Former New York Gov. David Paterson hailed Sullenberger's daring act of bravery as the "Miracle on the Hudson" -- a defining moment that Sullenberger vividly described for the first time on "60 Minutes" on Feb. 8, 2010, and later documented in his book, "Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters."
Born and raised in Denison, Texas, Sullenberger enrolled at the United States Air Force Academy, where he majored in psychology. In his graduation year, he received the Outstanding Cadet in Airmanship Award. Upon graduation, he served as a fighter pilot for the United States Air Force from 1975 to 1980. He advanced to become a flight leader and a training officer, attaining the rank of captain. His service in the military stationed him in both North America and Europe.
After completing his Air Force service, Sullenberger became a commercial airline pilot with Pacific Southwest Airlines. PSA was later acquired by US Airways, for which he flew until his retirement in March 2010. With more than 40 years of flying experience to his credit, Sullengberger has performed accident investigation duties for the United States Air Force and also served as an Air Line Pilots Association representative during a National Transportation Safety Board investigation. Sullenberger has served as a Local Air Safety Chairman for the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). As a member of the ALPA national technical committee, his work led to the creation of a Federal Aviation Administration Advisory Circular. He was also instrumental in developing and implementing the Crew Resource Management course used by US Airways, and has taught the course to hundreds of other airline members.
In addition to his bachelor's degree, Sullenberger also holds two master's degrees, one in industrial psychology from Purdue University and one in public administration from the University of Northern Colorado. He resides in California with his wife and children.