Sully

Captain Sullenberger and the miracle landing on the Hudson River

by Carol Low

It’s not often that you get to read the actual transcription of a cockpit recording of a doomed aircraft, with the captain calling out, “Mayday, mayday, mayday.” And to have the surviving pilot tell you the whole story in detail after the fact.

This is a true story of the miracle on the Hudson that happened in 2009. When I look at the photos of this incident, I vaguely remember seeing them in the news way back then. It took me 11 years later to read the book and watch the movie.

No regrets reading this book about Captain Sullenberger’s life, from a kid who loved and learned flying, to training as a fighter jet pilot in his 20s, to the miraculous landing on the Hudson River.

I will never look at pilots and cabin crew the same way again. In his book, we learn about the world of aviation and the various roles of people working on the ground as well as in the air.

Most of the book is about his life leading up to that fateful day. In the last quarter of the book, we learn exactly what transpired in the cockpit and the decisions that had to be made in seconds. It was a total of 208 seconds from the time tragedy struck the aircraft until it landed on water.

With so many rampant tragic aircraft stories in recent years, I’ve always wondered about the final moments for all those on board. More so on the part of the pilots who faced the problems head on and tried to do their best right up to the end. 

Reading this book, knowing that this doomed flight didn’t end in tragedy; getting a glimpse into the moments when things went very wrong to successful rescue operations, it offers a kind of comfort.

When I finished reading, I watched the movie. The book has a lot more to offer because it is a memoir. The movie’s focus is on the incident itself without us knowing much about Captain’s Sully background. I enjoyed both, especially with Tom Hanks playing Sully.

Some photos featured at the end of the book.

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