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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS FeedSully, Skiles speak to an (over)full house
By Kelly Nelson, EAA AirVenture Today

Photo by Michele Peterson
First Officer Jeffrey Skiles, left, and Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, crew of the US Airways Flight 1549, told about their January ditching in the Hudson River at a Thursday forum.

July 30, 2009 - Oshkosh, Wisconsin  - It has been a little over six months since Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger and First Officer Jeffrey Skiles safely ditched an Airbus A320, US Airways Flight 1549, in the Hudson River. In that time they have been interviewed by all of the major media outlets (and then some), been on the covers of magazines, and were guests at the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States.

Both Sully and Skiles will be appearing at Theater in the Woods Friday night with host David Hartmann.

Early this afternoon they spoke to an overflow crowd of fellow aviators at the Honda Main Stage during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.

"This is just phenomenal," Sully told the crowd, responding to a question about his first visit to Oshkosh. "It is fun to be in the same place with people who have the same passion I have had since I was 10."

Skiles, an AirVenture veteran, said this is his first visit to the event for multiple days on end. He remarked how impressed he was with the organization and the passion of the volunteers.

The two pilots recounted the tale of their short flight that January morning, and took questions from the audience on a range of subjects from flap settings and glide speeds to second careers in comedy.

When asked if either pilot had considered adding a seaplane rating to their certificates, Sully quipped, "I got word that the FAA said if I do this twice more I can get my rating!"

The flight that made them famous took all of 5.5 minutes. The skills and training of Sullenberger and Skiles, in addition to the cabin crew of Shelia Dail, Doreen Welsh, and Donna Dent, saved 155 people that day.

And yet, says Skiles, "The dog still has to be washed, the trash still goes out… at home life is the same, it's just that sometimes we get to go out to events like this."

And it's during those "sometimes" that, Sully says, they try to bring some recognition to broader issues at hand, including the current state of the airline industry.

"We're trying to make as much good of this for ourselves, our families, and our profession as we can," he said.

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