The Smithsonian-affiliated Aviation Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina, will reopen this year with a new name in honor of Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III. He became a new American hero and highly regarded by the aviation community, not only in the United States, but in the rest of the world, after he and his crew saved the lives of 155 passengers. According to CNN, the museums is due to reopen late this year, with a large ceremony scheduled for September 27th.
The museum is located on the site of the Charlotte Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, North Carolina, which was the destination of US Airways Flight 1549, which ended its flight path in Manhattan.
After logging more than 20,000 hours of flight time, Sullenberger became internationally renowned 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, during what has been called the “Miracle on the Hudson.” The Airbus A320’s two engines had lost thrust following a bird strike. Sullenberger and his crew received international acclaim for their actions that day, including the passage of a Congressional resolution recognizing their bravery.
The museum will serve as a vehicle of opportunity to inspire and elevate the next generation of innovators and future heroes.Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger
After serving in the Air Force, he became an airline pilot with Pacific Southwest Airlines in February 1980, later acquired by US Airways, until his retirement from commercial flying in March 2010.
Sullenberger was an active and ardent safety advocate throughout his four-decade-long career. He was selected to perform accident investigation duties for the United States Air Force, and served as an Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) representative during a National Transportation Safety Board accident investigation. Additionally, Sullenberger served as a Local Air Safety Chairman for ALPA, and was a member of one of their national technical committees, where he contributed 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 he taught the course to hundreds of other airline crew members.
Sullenberger was ranked second in TIME’s “Top 100 Most Influential Heroes and Icons of 2009” and was awarded the French Legion of Honour. Born and raised in Denison, Texas, Sullenberger pursued his childhood love of aviation by learning to fly at age 16, while still in high school, and later at the United States Air Force Academy. At his graduation from the Academy in 1973, he received the Outstanding Cadet in Airmanship Award. He continues to fly privately.
“I feel privileged that my name will be associated with such an awe-inspiring institution that is actively working to expand social, cultural and economic mobility in Charlotte and beyond,” Sullenberger said in a statement.
The museum exhibits since a few years the Airbus N106US which finally reached its destination by road after having been analyzed for the needs of the investigation. It has become, therefore, the main attraction of the museum, which ever year has welcomed some 50,000 visitors. Other aircraft on display, include an F-14D, an F-4 Phantom (another aircraft dear to Sullenberger), a DC-7 in the colors of Eastern Airways, a C-47 of Piemond Airlines, a C-130E Hercules and even a Cessna 150.
A survivor of the Flight 1546 crash named Ric Elias and owner of Red Ventures, donated $1 million to the museum in Sullenberger’s honor, along with a donation of $500,000 from Loney Planet, another Red Ventures brand, which will help preserve this story, along with the others that will be on display.
“Flight 1549 changed the course of my life and gave me the ultimate gift of a second chance,” Elias said in a statement. “The Museum is a tribute to the courage of Captain Sullenberger and the entire flight crew, and my hope is that it will also inspire young innovators to change the world.”