CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CBSNewYork/AP) — US Airways flight 1549 has finally arrived in North Carolina, more than two years late.
The plane that Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III famously landed in the Hudson River arrived Friday afternoon in Charlotte at the Carolinas Aviation Museum.
Public interest in the jet’s journey this week on a flatbed truck has surprised and touched the hero US Airways pilot who guided it to a safe splashdown.
“When I see images of people in their lawns chair waiting for their airplane to roll by on the freeway overpass with a camera to get a glimpse of it is surprising and wonderful,” Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III said in an interview.
The wings from the damaged Airbus A320 were removed and shipped earlier to the Carolinas Aviation Museum.
Charlotte was the original destination of the plane before it hit a flock of geese shortly after taking off from Laguardia Airport, forcing Captain Sullenberger to land the plane in the Hudson River.
Sullenberger said the landing still resonates with people.
“It gives them hope. It came at a time during the financial worldwide meltdown and people were quite frankly beginning to question basic goodness of human nature and this kind of reaffirmed our belief in the potential of good that exists in all of us,” he said.
Sullenberger said the splashdown inspired those involved to make changes. He has fought for better flight safety and improved working conditions for pilots.
“For many it’s become an impetus for change, a catalyst for living a more authentic fuller life. For me, it’s given me the ability to be an advocate of important things,” he said.
Sullenberger was recently named an aviation and safety expert for CBS News.
“This is a completely different life,” he said. “I was completely anonymous. I had never done any public speaking before in my entire life. Now it’s my main job.”
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