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March 4, 2010

Hudson crash landing hero Sullenberger retires

     New York: American Airlines pilot captain Chesley 'Sully' Sullenberger, who made headlines after safely gliding a jet onto the Hudson River last year, has retired. Sullenberger, who saved the lives of 155 people through the emergency landing, flew his last US Airways flight to his home base, Charlotte. After his final touchdown, he was greeted on the tarmac by fire trucks forming a watery ceremonial arch with their hoses. Onboard were his wife and six passengers from Flight 1549. "It was sort of coming full circle, wasn't it? Many of us are still trying to process this event. Having the opportunity to share in a very special day helps," The New York Daily News quoted Sullenberger, as having told reporters at the airport. "In 30 years of flying I don't think I've received better, more efficient and friendly service from the air traffic controllers than I did today," he added. Displaying modesty that gave him staying power as a national hero, Sullenberger did not make a fuss about piloting his last flight, and at his side was co-pilot, Jeff Skiles, who had helped him land Flight 1549 on the Hudson a year ago. Sullenberger vowed to stay busy as a "voice of reason" - pressing corporations and lawmakers to improve air safety. "We can't forget that we are in the business of saving lives, not saving money. Pilots are being put in the cockpit without enough experience, and required to fly too much without adequate rest," Sullenberger said. Meanwhile, James Ray, US Airline Pilots Association spokesman, said: "He didn't want any big fanfare. He just wanted to pull his plane up, park it and then go down to the crew room for some cake and punch and retire like any other pilot."
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