Hero Pilot Hailed for 50-Year Miracle

US Airways pilot the first in over 50 years to land a jet on water without fatalities
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 16, 2009 5:14 AM CST

(Newser) – The pilot of US Airways Flight 1549 is being praised for pulling off one of the rarest and most challenging maneuvers in aviation, the Wall Street Journal reports. Chesley Sullenberger is the first pilot in over 50 years to land a jetliner on water without a single fatality, and he managed to do so while coping with multiple other challenges.

Pilots receive bare bones training about landing on water, and it's generally believed that such landings will almost inevitably result in fatalities as a wing or engine catches the water and causes the plane to flip or break up. "The fact that passengers were able to walk off that airplane and wait on the wing for rescuers to arrive is remarkable," said an aviation consultant and former pilot. "It's amazing."