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"Miracle" Pilots Reunite for First Flight

The "Miracle on the Hudson" pilots are back together.

Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger and 1st Officer Jeffrey Skiles piloted flights Thursday from Charlotte, N.C., to New York and back.

It was their first time together in the cockpit since they had to ditch their disabled plane in the Hudson River, saving the more than 150 people on board.

At a news conference at LaGuardia Airport, Sullenberger said the Miracle on the Hudson "happened at a time when people needed to know that good could still be done in the world."

Charlotte-to-New York passenger Wyatt Smith says everyone cheered and clapped when boarding Thursday morning.

He says he felt "honored and safe" that Sully was the pilot on the US Airways flight.

Sullenberger's trumpeted return to the skies Thursday afternoon will actually be the famed captain's fourth flight since he successfully landed his crippled US Airways jet in the Hudson River back in January, US Airways admitted.

The airline had billed the flight from New York to Charlotte, N.C., , but the Daily News reported "Sully" was in the cockpit for the flight from Charlotte to New York's LaGuardia airport.

But Sullenberger had taken to the skies previously - twice on Sept. 11 - reports CBS News correspondent Jeff Glor. Those two passenger flights were part of his re-training process.

Sullenberger's flight Thursday morning was his first with Skiles, reuniting the "Miracle on the Hudson" crew.

"I was overwhelmed when I found out it was him," said Don Lambert, 61, of Fort Mill, S.C., who was on the early morning flight to LaGuardia Airport. "You feel like you have the best pilot in the world fixing to fly you to New York."

"Everybody cheered and clapped when we got on the plane in Charlotte," said Wyatt Smith, 41, also from Fort Mill. "I put my seat back and took a nap. I felt really honored and safe that it was him."

When asked why the airline had trumpeted Thursday afternoon's flight as his first, airline spokesman Jonathan Freed said it was his first "symbolic" flight back.

"It's the one that they're emotionally attached to," Freed said.

Sullenberger was flying out of New York's LaGuardia airport on Jan. 15 when his Airbus A320's engines failed after a mid-air collision with a flock of geese. With no other options for a safe landing, Sullenberger guided the plane safely down the Hudson for a now-famous splashdown that saved all 155 people on board and made him an aviation folk hero in the process.

Glor reports that Sullenberger has hardly had time to stay grounded in the past eight and a half months, recounting the landing on the Hudson, writing a book and testifying before Congress.

On "The Early Show" Thursday, Kristy Spears, a passenger on the flight that went down in the Hudson, said the experience changed her life.

"I'd like to say that I haven't changed dramatically. I'm still me. But there is something different because it was a significant event in my life, and it's a part of me now, and I think about it every day," Spears said. "Not a single day goes by that something doesn't occur that brings it back."

However, Spears said she was planning to fly with Sullenberger again on her flight home to Charlotte Thursday afternoon.

She said if given the chance to fly the "miracle" flight again she would - just as long as she knew the favorable outcome for the passengers and crew.