Everyday heroes: 11 tales of American heroes

11. Chesley 'Sully' Sullenberger and the 'Miracle on the Hudson'

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    Passengers and crew stand on the wings of a US Airways plane after it landed in the Hudson River in New York, January 15, 2009.
    REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/Files
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On Jan. 15, 2009, Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III, of Danville, Calif., calmly and deftly landed US Airways Flight 1549, an Airbus A320 jet, on New York's Hudson River after a flock of birds disabled the engines.

All passengers and crew aboard the flight that departed from New York City’s LaGuardia Airport for Charlotte, N.C., survived the gutsy emergency landing.

New York Gov. David Paterson called Sullenberger's quick thinking a "miracle on the Hudson," and Mayor Michael Bloomberg dubbed him "Captain Cool."

Sullenberger's choice of landing in the Hudson came after an exchange with air traffic control. He told them the engines were disabled and that he would not be able to make it back to LaGuardia or to Teterboro Airport in New Jersey. "We'll be in the Hudson," he's heard telling air traffic controllers in audio released from the event.

Sullenberger retired after 30 years at US Airways in 2010.

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