I don’t often cry at 60 Minutes. I did tonight. This was the night of the Flight 1549 story as reported by the glasses wearing Katie Couric.
Sorry crew members, it’s the Sully story now. You were just along for the ride.
“I made the brace for impact announcement in the cabin and immediately, through the hardened cockpit door, I heard the flight attendants begin shouting their commands in response to my command to brace. ‘Heads down. Stay down.’ I could hear them clearly. They were chanting it in unison over and over again to the passengers, to warn them and instruct them. And I felt very comforted by that. I knew immediately that they were on the same page. That if I could land the airplane, that they could get them out safely,” he remembered.
“But there was still a big if,” Couric pointed out.
“I was sure I could do it,” he replied.
Yes he was. No hyperbole here. Even when Katie asked him the obligatory prayer question Sullenberger didn’t bite.
“My focus at that point was so intensely on the landing,” he said. “I thought of nothing else.”
I watched the story upstairs before rejoining Helaine in the family room. We talked about the pre-1549 Sully. It wasn’t as cool to be him then.
He is the sitcom dad he (and I) watched growing up in the fifties and sixties. He is the straight shooter. He is the role model.
Had I landed the plane and Sully was the one watching 60 Minutes I suspect he wouldn’t have been bawling. He is the opposite of effusively emotional.
When the plane came to a halt and the passengers had been safely evacuated it was he who walked the aisle, twice, to make sure everyone was really off-the-plane. We can’t even get school bus drivers to do that in Connecticut!
“Did you give yourself even a few seconds though to acknowledge that you had averted disaster?” Couric asked.
“No, because I hadn’t quite yet,” he replied. “And I had business to attend to. I had a job to do.”
Who plays him in the movie?