'Miracle on Hudson' pilot Chesley 'Sully' Sullenberger in Coronado to sign books, talk leadership

CORONADO, Calif. - Retired airline captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, the man known for the "Miracle on the Hudson," was in town on Sunday.

Sullenberger is now known around the world as an American hero for the decisions he made on Jan. 15, 2009 that spared the lives of the 155 passengers on board U.S. Airways Flight 1549.

"Because this flight happened at a time in the world's history when it seemed as if everything were going wrong in this worldwide financial meltdown, some people had begun to question human nature. Is it really about self interest or greed or can people really do the right thing?" he said.

Sullenberger, who is now retired from flying commercially, was in Coronado to sign copies of a book he wrote that focuses on leadership.

That is something he has had a lifelong fascination with.

"I was able to in the last four years since the Hudson River flight, meet people I admired for a long time, who have these qualities, who had done important things and touched people's lives...  and I was able to have extended conversations with them and hear their very personal stories and so I've begun to answer for myself and for the reader some important essential questions about leadership," said Sullenberger.

He credits his parents with teaching him to lead, essentially giving him what it took to graduate from the Air Force Academy and go on to be a fighter pilot.

Five years later, in 1980, Sullenberger began his career as a commercial airline pilot with Pacific Southwest Airlines in San Diego.

"Flying is still a lifelong passion for me and I'm so fortunate to have started at such an early age – literally at 5 I knew how to fly – and I still do fly smaller airplanes, things for short range business trips, family trips and I do enjoy that a lot," he said. "It's a real satisfaction for me to do that."

Sullenberger signed books until 2:30 p.m. and is said to speak at an event at the Hotel del Coronado later Sunday evening.

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