After the pilot safely landed the U.S. Airways plane into the Hudson River today, people began to quickly call him a hero.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he did a "masterful job." New York Gov. David Paterson said he averted a tragedy. But Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger, III, the pilot who helped save the 155 passengers and crew from the freezing waters off Manhattan was just doing his job.
Sullenberger, a 57-year-old Danville, Ca. resident, has been flying planes for over 40 years and is a former Air Force fighter pilot.
Since 1980, he has been a pilot with U.S. Airways, where he trained other pilots, helped streamline passenger service, led efforts to improve safety at airports, aided the National Transportation Safety Board in investigating accidents, and co-wrote a technical paper with NASA on crew decision-making errors.
From 1973 to 1980, he was an F-4 pilot for the Air Force. He flew missions in Europe and over the Pacific as a commander.
Sullenberger graduated with a bachelors in psychology from the U.S. Air Force Academy and went on to earn a masters in industrial psychology from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. He also has a masters in public administration from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, Colo.
In addition to his work as a pilot, he is the president of Safety Reliability Methods, Inc., a company that provides management, safety, performance and reliability consulting to various businesses.
He is also a member of the Air Line Pilots Association, where he previously served as a safety chairman. Sullenberger was recently named a visiting scholar at the Center for Catastrophic Risk Management at the University of California, Berkeley.